Banana by Dan Koeppel
The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World

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Synopsis

Read Dan Koeppel's posts on the Penguin Blog.

A gripping biological detective story that uncovers the myth, mystery, and endangered fate of the world’s most humble fruit

To most people, a banana is a banana: a simple yellow fruit. Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. In others parts of the world, bananas are what keep millions of people alive. But for all its ubiquity, the banana is surprisingly mysterious; nobody knows how bananas evolved or exactly where they originated. Rich cultural lore surrounds the fruit: In ancient translations of the Bible, the “apple” consumed by Eve is actually a banana (it makes sense, doesn’t it?). Entire Central American nations have been said to rise and fall over the banana.

But the biggest mystery about the banana today is whether it will survive. A seedless fruit with a unique reproductive system, every banana is a genetic duplicate of the next, and therefore susceptible to the same blights. Today’s yellow banana, the Cavendish, is increasingly threatened by such a blight—and there’s no cure in sight.

Banana combines a pop-science journey around the globe, a fascinating tale of an iconic American business enterprise, and a look into the alternately tragic and hilarious banana subculture (one does exist)—ultimately taking us to the high-tech labs where new bananas are literally being built in test tubes, in a race to save the world’s most beloved fruit.
 

About Dan Koeppel

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Dan Koeppel, author of To See Every Bird on Earth, is a well-known outdoors and adventure writer whose articles have been published by The New York Times Magazine, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Los Angeles Times, and Popular Science.
 
Published December 27, 2007 by Plume. 305 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Once bananas arrived in the New World—via Polynesian sailors—they soon evolved from a luxury food into a necessity, as entrepreneurs figured out how to grow them in Central America and transport them by ship and rail in refrigerated containers that kept them fresh for the huge U.S. market.

Nov 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit...

TCPalm / AP

Dan Koeppel writes an intriguing book outlining the world impacts and potential fate of the “diminutive” banana.

Sep 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit...

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