An edible history of humanity

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English
Description

Throughout history, food has done more than simply provide sustenance. It has acted as a tool of social transformation, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is an account of how food has helped to shape and transform societies around the world, from the emergence of farming in China by 7,500 BCE to today's use of sugar cane and corn to make ethanol.

Food has been a kind of technology, a tool that has changed the course of human progress. It helped to found, structure, and connect together civilizations worldwide, and to build empires and bring about a surge in economic development through industrialization. Food has been employed as a military and ideological weapon. And today, in the culmination of a process that has been going on for thousands of years, the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development and the adoption of new technologies.

Drawing from many fields including genetics, archaeology, anthropology, ethno-botany and economics, the story of these food-driven transformations is a fully satisfying account of the whole of human history.

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ISBN:
9780802715883
140014308
9781400143085
9781400113088
9781400193080
9781410418500
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID a1abd699-96c9-caec-1b91-aaeaeb7c1e7e
Grouping Title edible history of humanity
Grouping Author standage tom
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-09-18 04:48:52AM
Last Indexed 2018-09-18 04:52:32AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Wilson, George K.,
author Tom Standage
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display_description

Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes---caused, enabled, or influenced by food---has helped to shape and transform societies around the world.

The first civilizations were built on barley and wheat in the Near East, millet and rice in Asia, corn and potatoes in the Americas. Why farming created a strictly ordered social hierarchy in contrast to the loose egalitarianism of hunter-gatherers is, as Tom Standage reveals, as interesting as the details of the complex cultures that emerged, eventually interconnected by commerce. Trade in exotic spices in particular spawned the age of exploration and the colonization of the New World.

Food's influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britain's solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleon's rise and fall was intimately connected with his ability to feed his vast armies. In the twentieth century, Communist leaders employed food as an ideological weapon, resulting in the death by starvation of millions in the Soviet Union and China. And today the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development, the environment, and the adoption of new technologies.

Encompassing many fields, from genetics and archaeology to anthropology and economics---and invoking food as a special form of technology---An Edible History of Humanity is a fully satisfying discourse on the sweep of human history.

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publishDate 2009
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subject_facet Agriculture -- History, Food -- Economic aspects, Food -- Symbolic aspects, Food habits -- History, Food preferences -- History
title_display An edible history of humanity
title_full An Edible History of Humanity, An edible history of humanity / Tom Standage
title_short An edible history of humanity
title_sub
topic_facet Cooking & Food, History, Nonfiction