- Tapa blanda: 216 páginas
- Editor: Allen & Unwin Inc; Edición: New. (13 de junio de 2002)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1865086576
- ISBN-13: 978-1865086576
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
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Bittersweet: The Story of Sugar (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 13 jun 2002
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Descripción del producto
Lively and entertaining: a splendid saga for the general reader. "Kirkus Reviews""
Reseña del editor
Forty years after first chewing on sugar cane in New Guinea, the home of sugar, the author underwent some complex dental work as a direct result of his sweet tooth. This led him to explore sugar cane's journey from New Guinea to Shakespeare's England. In the days before dentistry, people paid dearly for this sweet new food from exotic places. Queen Elizabeth I became so partial to hippocras, sugared almonds and pastilles that her teeth turned completely black.Bittersweet is full of ripping yarns and acts of bastardry. Through the ages, sugar has offered opportunities of tremendous riches to the unscrupulous few who grew and sold it. But in the days of manual processing, these fortunes were built on the backbreaking labour of slaves.Bittersweet explores the effects that sugar has had on the world. A foodstuff we take for granted and indulge in more than we should has caused wars and geopolitical balances that have shaped the modern world and the power balances we see in the 21st century.' The breadth of the connections Macinnis weaves through his tale continually surprises, all the more because the substance sugar is so deceptively simple that, before this book, we have taken it for granted. He has put his encyclopaedic knowledge to excellent use, placing science and technology naturally in a social context.' - Dr Peter Pockley, Australasian Correspondent for Nature.'Few foods have had such an impact on human history as sugar, from its origins, its influence on the slave trade and its use as a medicine, a luxury, a comfort food and now a cheap filler in the modern processed food supply. Peter Macinnis has traced its path carefully, cleverly crafting the story of all its sweet and sour effects.' - Dr Rosemary Stanton, Nutritionist.Ver Descripción del producto
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Sugar cane has been around for perhaps 9,000 years as a cultivated crop, and sugarmaking not nearly so long. Macinnis rightly concentrates on the past 400 years, when sugar broke out into the world. It is now produced, from cane or beet, in more than 100 countries.
One fault of this book is that it does not make clear how very important sugar remains, especially in the diets of poorer people. The very poor do not eat sugar, but as soon as people rise above semistarvation, one of the first things they do is buy sugar. Sugar supplies nearly 10% of calories worldwide. To Americans, who worry about their waistlines, this may seem like a bad thing. But calories are inadequate in the diets of hundreds of millions of people. Sugar is excellent food.
Sugar growing and manufacturing, however, has not been excellent. Cane does not lend itself to small farming -- for one thing, in the best sugar areas, it is a two-year crop. This means plantations, and plantations usually mean exploitation of labor. In cane's case, slavery. Not always, however. Hawaii's sugar labor is the highest-paid agricultural labor in the world. But there's not much of it. Sugar today can be highly mechanized, but in much of the world labor is still cheaper than machines.
There is an enormous historical literature on sugar and slavery. Not much of it is easy reading and most of it assumes background information that most readers don't have. 'Bittersweet' is the best general introduction to sugar I have seen, fair and fairly sophisticated. Unlike, say, Mintz's book, mentioned in an earlier review.
The subtitle, The Story of Sugar could really have been The Story of Sugar and Slavery since, according to the author, this form of forced labor has been so integral to the success of the crop. In fact I am sure that the "Bitter" half of the title is a reference to slavery. Macinnis states that not only the institution of slavery, but also the global politics of Colonialism, has its foundation in the global production of sugar.
So as you can see, the world as we know it has to a large extent been molded by the story of sugar. Thus this book, or some other like it, is important reading for a good understanding of modern world history. Being an Australian gives the author just enough distance from the European and American sugar empires to tell the story with a balanced and somewhat objective point of view.
The book is illustrated with black-and-white maps and each chapter ends with a historic sugar recipe. There is a two page glossary of terms related to sugar production as well as a seven page bibliography of further readings. There are no footnotes to break the narrative.
This is a great introduction to the story of one of the most important cash crops in world history.