An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Tom Standage

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Tom Standage is technology editor at the Economist, and the author of The Turk, The Neptune File, An Edible History of Humanity, and The Victorian Internet. He lives in Greenwich, England.
 
Published July 1, 2009 by Walker Books. 288 pages
Genres: History, Cooking, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for An Edible History of Humanity

Kirkus Reviews

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He takes the long view to illuminate and contextualize such contemporary issues as genetically modified foods, the complex relationship between food and poverty, the local food movement, the politicization of food and the environmental outcomes of modern methods of agriculture.

Mar 15 2009 | Read Full Review of An Edible History of Humanity

The Guardian

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An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage 270pp, Atlantic, £19.99 Famine: A Short History by Cormac Ó Gráda 318pp, Princeton, £16.95 Pie by Janet Clarkson 136pp, Reaktion, £8.99 Spices by Fred Czarra 176pp, Reaktion, £8.99 Food can grind the lens through which we view the big facts.

Jun 13 2009 | Read Full Review of An Edible History of Humanity

Scotsman.com

IN AN age where food poverty is a dim and distant memory in the developed world, Tom Standage's erudite and thoughtful examination of the role of food in history is a timely dose of context for many of the problems that the world faces.

May 15 2009 | Read Full Review of An Edible History of Humanity

Bookmarks Magazine

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.

Jun 08 2009 | Read Full Review of An Edible History of Humanity

Large Print Reviews

An Edible History of Humanity is divided into six parts, covering:The Edible Foundations of Civilization Food and Social Structure Global Highways of Food Food, Energy, and Industrialization Food as a Weapon Food, Population, and Development Compelling and eminently readable, Sta...

Sep 14 2009 | Read Full Review of An Edible History of Humanity

New Scientist

But instead of casting backwards for one thread to stitch everything together, Standage sensibly casts a net, writing not a history of any one food but a history through food.

May 18 2009 | Read Full Review of An Edible History of Humanity

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