In this controversial and prodigiously researched condemnation of our current and past systems of growing grain, Manning (Food's Frontier: The Next Green Revolution) argues that the major forces that have shaped the world-disease, imperialism, colonialism, slavery, trade, wealth-are all a part of the culture of agriculture. He traces the beginnings of agriculture to the Middle East, where plants were abundant and easily domesticated in coastal areas; hunter-gathers, who became fishermen, formed settlements near river mouths. Manning skillfully details the historical spread of agriculture through the conquest of indigenous peoples and describes how this expansion led to overpopulation, famine and disease in Europe, Asia and Africa. Sugar agriculture was supported by slaves and farming by laborers who grew produce for the rich while the workers ate a high carbohydrate diet (potatoes, rice, sugar, bread) and ingested no protein. In the U.S., modern agriculture has evolved into an industrial system where agribusiness is subsidized to grow commodities like wheat, corn and rice, not to feed people but to store and trade. According to Manning, agricultural research focuses on just these few crops and is profit driven. Although he succeeds in drawing attention to critical problems caused by agriculture, such as water pollution and malnutrition, he is pessimistic about reform coming from political systems. He romantically advocates hunting animals for food and hopes that such citizen movements like urban green markets and organic farms can lead to better nutrition.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A growing body of somewhat controversial scholarship ties the beginnings of war to the "culture of scarcity" that emerged with the invention, sometime in the Neolithic era and probably in the eastern Mediterranean, of agriculture. Before that, these theorists contend, humans lived as hunter-gatherers who were, far from the common vision of the half-starved caveman, quite comfortable and well-fed, because their diet was both varied and seasonal. The investment of time and energy to grow a few crops led, paradoxically, to both great excess and horrific want; when the crops failed, famine followed among people whose population had swelled beyond the small tribes of the earlier peoples. These theories are regularly bruited about at academic meetings, but rarely are they the subject of popular writing (Daniel Quinn's 1992 novel Ishmael constitutes an exception). Manning brings theory to life with well-crafted essays that cover such diverse subjects as the Irish potato famine and the controversy over bioengineered plants. Readable and well-researched, this book unsettles as it informs. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It is difficult to continue to sort out the aspects of production and political. No question we can make the products and no question that the political mavens can influence the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by judy h upton
I thoroughly enjoyed Manning's look at how agriculture (not food production) has manipulated civilization to where it is today. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tim Leifer
Manning is a comprehensive writer with a well-documented historical perspective on the anthropology of human farming. Goes beyond the common "green" books. Makes one think.Published 17 months ago by Ric Farrell
All of Manning's writings are both educational and full of theory. His viewpoints about agriculture have changed my outlook on many things. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Noel
I loved the view from fifty thousand feet and eons of time. This book puts presents a high level perspective and megatons of food for thought.Published 21 months ago by Charles F. Tutt
If you're new to this subject you'll enjoy this book as the author writes quite well and has a great command of the subject, the data, and issues. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Magellan
Like most books of a commentary nature, Richard Manning spends most of these pages describing how agriculture changed the world, and not with the all too common culture hype. Read morePublished on November 4, 2012 by Jerry
This book is mostly a history of socio-economic effects that agriculture has had on the history of civilization. As that, it is in excellent book. Read morePublished on August 5, 2012 by JDepew