An edible history of humanity

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Pub. Date:
2009.
Language:
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
9781400193080
9781410418500
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Grouping Titleedible history of humanity
Grouping Authorstandage tom
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-10-20 04:47:07AM
Last Indexed2019-10-20 04:50:49AM

Solr Details

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authorTom 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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ils:.b13025806BookBooksFirst U.S. edition.EnglishWalker & Co., 2009.xiii, 269 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
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subject_facetAgriculture -- History
Food -- Economic aspects
Food -- Symbolic aspects
Food habits -- History
Food preferences -- History
title_displayAn edible history of humanity
title_fullAn Edible History of Humanity
An edible history of humanity / Tom Standage
title_shortAn edible history of humanity
topic_facetCooking & Food
History
Nonfiction