Much of this book spoke of the involvement of food in political and military campaigns. What I was hoping for was a history of the foods rather than a history of politics surrounding food.
A very informative book written in a rather dry style. Surely you could get more entertainment from watching the Kardishians (if that's your idea of entertainment), but you may get just a little bit smarter by reading this book.
A history of people and the plants and animals and how their existence has become intertwined over the years. I am reminded of Cultural Geography 201, circa 1965. If you took the course the content is old hat --- if you didn’t then the content may be new to you. The approach is encyclopedic --- it’s an overview. Any of the subtopics could have lent themselves to a fat book in their own right --- for example the section on food preservation, specifically canning, has been dealt with other others writing in a popular vein elsewhere. For most high school students, this material might be new. But will it hold their interest? It didn’t hold mine. You could spend your time profitably reading this book --- but you could do better.
A well-written history of mankind and agriculture and how each has influenced the other. This is not a scholarly account, but one written for the general reader, so is short on citations, although it does have a nice bibliography. Standage's account is most interesting when he discusses the pre-Columbian and immediately post-Columbian world, least interesting when he wades into modern day food policy. He clearly has little understanding of the local food movement (he seems to think the entire movement is comprised of people who won't eat ANYTHING from outside their immediate vicinity, when this is a minority of localvores). All in all, worth a read, but only if the topic is very new to you. If it interests you, dip into some of the works in his bibliography.
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