Read what people think about An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage, and write your own review.

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

An Edible History of Humanity

by Tom Standage

An Edible History of Humanity

Buy This Book

About this book

Reviews

Page 1 of 2
There are currently 16 reader reviews for An Edible History of Humanity
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Jordann (08/30/14)

No Plot
This book was the worst book I have ever had to read. My high school AP teacher assigned it for over the summer and it took me two months to even get through it. The book has absolutely no plot and I don't understand why anyone would willingly read this book about things that are not true and make not difference to our world anyway.
Eileen C. (Arlington, TX) (04/09/09)

History and food.
Excellent book by the author of the "History of the World in Six Glasses". Unlike the previous book there is not a timeline followed in this book, there are historical topics and food. The reader experiences how the cultivation of wild foods changed to food traits more favorable for human cultivation, instead of traits that might have lead to greater spread of foods. Revealed is how specialized societies developed from changes from a hunter/gatherer to agricultural society. How searching for new foods expanded knowledge of the world, and how foods from the new world led to better farming and the industrial revolution. How the ability to supply food to troops changed wars is covered as is the question of how the growing world can be fed today.

I recommend this book as an enlightening view of how foods have contributed to history and the world as we know it.
Kathy P. (Saratoga, CA) (04/07/09)

Accessible and Insightful
Standage convincingly transforms colorful side notes from old world history texts -- spice trade routes, the domestication of grain -- into the dominant, driving forces that shaped human civilization. Lifelong learners will enjoy perusing these well-researched pages. He illuminates credible premises in entertaining, informative ways -- such as how Britain's food supply logistics helped the American Revolution to succeed, or how the existence of the potato made Britain's Industrial Revolution possible. Even well-honed trivia buffs will find new conversational highlights and factual gemstones here. This book could easily serve as a college textbook or reference resource.
Claire M. (Hilton Head, SC) (04/03/09)

Food through the Ages...
Without great thought most of us have perhaps thought that history has influenced food but the opposite is true - food has written history. Who would be thinking farming was an alien activity 10,000 years ago? The mutations of corn, rice, wheat and other grains over the millennia, from a grass into a so called cereal, which can only be grown by man is illustrative of the current food supply. Standage’s book is a very interesting story of how we have gotten to where we are through the domestication of grain and livestock. And here I stand; an opponent of genetic engineering who has not understood the precedents!

What this book also shows us is that we should follow the food, not the money in order to understand the growth of societies. Today we take food for granted in a country dominated by agribusiness - cheap food for cheap health. Though many of us may want to eat and think local it behooves us to understand the inter dependence of global agribusiness and populations which have led us to these desires. Thomas Malthus, wars, famines, Norman Borlaug, synthesizing ammonia, and feeding huge populations - all of these many people and events are shown by Standage to have brought us to what we eat now. I’m delighted to have learned what I have, to understand the interrelationships, the history of food and civilizations in reading this very interesting book.










































































































dee
Kelly P. (Monterey, TN) (03/25/09)

An enjoyable book
Overall, I found An Edible History of Humanity to be an enjoyable and informative book. The author traces the impact of food on human civilization by addressing such topics as global trade, political policy, warfare, and scientific development. While there are not many stunning new revelations, the book does entertain and inform the reader. The information is presented in a logical manner, the writing is crisp, the examples are appropriate, and most importantly the author avoids the dreaded “information dump” that plagues too many histories.
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA) (03/24/09)

Food and the Turning Points of History
Standage writes on “… the intersections between food history and world history, to ask a simple question: which foods have done most to shape the modern world, and how?” So, this book is coarse-grain history, telling us about the sprouting of civilizations from the domestication of wheat, barley, rice, corn, and potatoes. We “follow the food” as trade (especially in spices) cross-fertilizes the cultures of continents. “Give us this day our daily bread” makes logistics as important as munitions in waging war and give tyrants an almost irresistible means of coercion. Perhaps the best fodder for reading groups is the generous view of the green revolution and industrial agriculture, provoking discussion of food that is at least local, if not slow.

I suspect that readers of books on history naturally form two groups: those driven by narrative and those for whom history is visual and illustrations are essential. I especially missed having enough readable maps showing past peoples and the connecting arrows that signify camel routes and voyages in small wooden ships. This was remedied by having “The Times Atlas of World History” close at hand.*

Food is the everything of our lives, from food stamps to the commodity prices of the corn that makes the tortillas in the barrios to the omega-3-containing salmon that might save our hearts. “An Edible History of Humanity” could be a good short course in a curriculum of books about food.

*Editor's note, Mark was reviewing an advanced reader's copy (ARC) of An Edible History of Humanity, oftentimes maps and other illustrations are not included in the ARC but are available in the finished version.
Kevin (03/22/09)

An Edible History of Humanity
The author puts forward his views that all large transformations in history were caused, enabled or influenced by food. The change as humans left hunter-gatherer societies and become agrarian societies allowed people to have the ability to stay in one place, to own personal items (because they did not have to carry them), to grow into various class distinctions, to eventually allow those in control to have others get food for them. The author argues that food (or the lack thereof) was the main reason for wars to occur.
A very interesting history. I was not expecting much but enjoyed the book. I don't think I will ever look at corn in the same way again.
Margie (03/20/09)

Review of An Edible History of Humanity
Tom Standage’s latest book presents history through the prism of food: how improvements to food production, food storage, and food distribution allowed for dramatic changes in human society – for example, empowering the transformation from a hunter-gatherer society to that of settled farmers. The author also examines other issues – such as the local food movement – in a balanced way, presenting the merits on both sides of the argument in an effort to find the middle ground. The text is presented in a very readable style, and even though it is essentially a history book, a comprehensive knowledge of world history is not a prerequisite for enjoyment.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2

Readalikes

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.