Buy New
$22.22
Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.00
  • Save: $2.78 (11%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Monday, April 21? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Trade in your item
Get a $5.25
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Maize and Grace: Africa's Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500-2000 Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0674025578 ISBN-10: 0674025571

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$39.99 $8.12
Paperback
"Please retry"
$22.22
$20.00 $13.17

Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student



Frequently Bought Together

Maize and Grace: Africa's Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500-2000 + Environment and History: The taming of nature in the USA and South Africa (Historical Connections series) + Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land: An Environmental History of Africa, 1800-1990
Price for all three: $91.68

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

China
Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674025571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674025578
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 7.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #977,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

McCann's book is as amazing as its title - the botanical properties of the cultigen itself (clearly delineated for the botanically challenged), the continent's unique modern dependence on the crop, the complicated and varied political and economic histories of how it came to be that way, how his Ethiopian research partner's local knowledge connected maize with malaria, and more. Maize and Grace is a readable, highly original, penetrating and comprehensive study of exemplary quality. (Joseph Miller, University of Virginia)

Maize transformed life in Africa, initially alleviating hunger during that crucial period before other crops ripened and now providing an increasingly important source of food, fodder, fuel and cash. McCann's eloquent narrative traces the path of this crop from its introduction as a snack into the land of Prester John to its present eminence throughout Africa. (Andrew Spielman, School of Public Health, Harvard University)

A captivating account of the introduction and spread of maize in Africa. This book provides excellent analysis of the legacy and opportunity of maize in addressing Africa's food crisis, as well as powerful insight into emerging social, cultural, health and environmental issues. (Dr. Alemneh Dejene, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

Maize and Grace offers a compelling counterpoint to the maize success story accepted by most agricultural economists. McCann sheds light on previously unexplored connections between the political, health, and food security dimensions of maize in Africa, some of which have major implications for development policy. (T.S. Jayne, Michigan State University)

A sweeping, deeply-learned, beautifully-written, and well-nigh comprehensive account of how maize changed Africa and how Africa changed maize. The level of botanical historical, cultural, and agricultural knowledge that underwrites this volume makes it a model of scholarship as meticulous as it is ambitious. Henceforth, none of my students will be released into the world without having read it. (James C. Scott, Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University)

Maize and Grace shows how a New World crop contributed to the emergence of modern-day Africa. Some parts of Africa now have higher maize consumption per capita than Mexico and Guatemala, where the crop originated...Rather than describing sweeping historical currents, the book offers the reader a series of vignettes that provide opportunities to appreciate the paradoxes of maize development policy and to contemplate some enduring themes in agricultural history. (Robert Tripp Nature 2005-04-14)

McCann has written a fascinating social history of the propagation of maize throughout sub-Saharan Africa since it was first brought there from the New World, probably in the cargo of a slave ship, around 1500. He chronicles the ways in which maize has adapted itself to African conditions, slowly becoming a major African food staple. Since World War II, in fact, the emergence of hybrid maize has resulted in a sharp rise in maize cultivation in Africa, displacing traditional indigenous crops. McCann celebrates the ingenuity of African farmers as they adapted the crop to local customs and climactic conditions, but he argues that the policy world has largely ignored the socioeconomic and environmental implications of the emergence of maize as a staple. In the book's most fascinating chapter, he convincingly links a major malaria epidemic in the highlands of Ethiopia in 1998 to the widespread adoption of maize in the area over the preceding decade. (Nicholas Van De Walle Foreign Affairs 2005-09-01)

The author's botanical descriptions and explanations...help us comprehend the long history of maize in Africa. It arrived during the sixteenth century from all directions-north and south, east and west, Christian and Muslim--to become a major food source during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. McCann provides thoughtful histories of its early decades in northern Italy and Ethiopia, demonstrating how politics affects agriculture profoundly--and vice versa as well. (Alfred W. Crosby Technology and Culture)

With a captivating title, Maize and Grace, James McCann considers the ambiguities of African development through a handful of creatively researched maize stories that demonstrate his well-honed investigatory and interpretative skills as a distinguished Africanist environmental historian...From an informed use of oral tradition, little-used agronomic research records, statistical analysis, and artistic and photographic evidence--shared through almost forty illustrations--McCann reveals how an environmental history of maize in Africa illustrates both the triumphs and tripwires of development science and politics. (James Bingen African Studies Review)

As a field crop produced primarily to feed livestock and chicken, maize may appear to be a far cry from being considered a "grace" to humanity as the title of the book, Maize and Grace might suggest. However, considering the distinctive character it plays in human diets, it is not difficult to perceive maize as a blessing or grace. James McCann has chosen an ambitious task and has done it well. He set out to tell the remarkable saga of maize's ascension as a major dramatis persona in Africa's food supply over the past half millennium. As a historian, McCann has brought a different perspective to the importance of maize in the evolution of African agricultural systems...Maize and Grace is a fascinating book, and a joy to read. The book, based on painstaking research and historical data, provides a comprehensive account of how maize and humans have interacted since it was first introduced in Africa over half a millennium ago. It is eloquently written and loaded with a wealth of historical, social, cultural, botanical, ecological, and agricultural information and knowledge, as well as fresh, ingenious, and original insights. Professor McCann is to be commended and congratulated for his valuable scholarly contribution to agricultural literature. Can maize be Africa's "saving grace?" It is a question left for the reader to decide. (Chung L. Huang American Journal of Agricultural Economics 2006-11-01)

In this concise yet comprehensive monograph, James McCann deploys his considerable skills as a synthesizer to explain how maize, despite its nutritional and environmental constraints, has come to be the dominant food crop in Africa...In the end, what makes this book impressive is the way that it combines original fieldwork with a deep understanding of a by now formidable interdisciplinary literature...His approach allows this important book to make a significant contribution to the new literature on the history of African crop cultivation...It will become a must-read for students of agricultural and environmental history, geography and African history more generally. (Jamie Monson African History 2007-01-01)

A fascinating tour of five centuries of African history...[It] should attract some general readers as well as students of African agriculture. (Danny Yee’s Book Reviews 2008-06-15)

Review

McCann's book is as amazing as its title - the botanical properties of the cultigen itself (clearly delineated for the botanically challenged), the continent's unique modern dependence on the crop, the complicated and varied political and economic histories of how it came to be that way, how his Ethiopian research partner's local knowledge connected maize with malaria, and more. Maize and Grace is a readable, highly original, penetrating and comprehensive study of exemplary quality. (Joseph Miller, University of Virginia) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reader from Yellow River on February 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Merchants, missionaries, and slave traders probably brought maize, from the New World, to Africa around 1500. Maize has the vegetable vitamins A, C, E. It doesn't have the lower B vitamins of the true grains millet, sorghum, and wheat. Yet it became Africa's most important cereal crop. For it's easy to grow. It needs one plowing, as opposed to 3-4 for true grains. It gives two big harvests a year. Its grains, leaves, roots, stalks, and tassels can be eaten. It's roasted on the cob or made into soup, porridge, gruel, and couscous. Its lighter work load frees farmers for money-making activities; military service; government work projects; and food-for-work projects.

But is it a good choice? It gets lower harvest prices than wheat, teff, and sorghum. It needs nitrogen, sunlight, and water. All three are problems with phosphorous-poor acidic and red porous laterite soils. Acidic soils also have little calcium and magnesium and too much aluminum. Laterite's also low in nutrients. So they're not right soils, right vegetable. African soils only grow maize with fertilizers, herbicides/pesticides, and irrigation. The rest of the world grows maize for chicken and livestock fodder, fuel, paint, penicillin, and plastic. But Africa grows maize to feed Africans. And maize diets are short on proteins and vitamins. So maize-eaters get the diseases kwashiorkor and pellagra.

Maize is behind two modern disasters. One's the crop failures of 1949-52. New World maize got along with two fungal parasites, puccinia sorghi and polysora. Maize and sorghi went to Africa together. It was a rare case of non-native plant and parasite naturalizing beautifully on new soil. Maize and polysora went with American food shipments to Sierra Leone, for re-shipment to America's allies.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Newman VINE VOICE on November 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before 1492 "and all that", African farmers grew a variety of crops, but certainly not maize or corn, as it is often called in North America. Very early on, during the Columbian exchange, maize came to Africa. It arrived from several different directions, as is evident in the names given by Africans to their new `wonder' crop. It came overland from Egypt and Arabia, it was brought by Portuguese traders early on, or later by other Europeans. At first, maize would have been used as an additional vegetable in forest plots along with many others. Later, though, it became a basic food, a monocrop plant, which formed the basis of the diet in many areas. Today, of 22 countries in the world where maize forms the highest percent of the diet, 16 are in Africa (p.9). In Lesotho and Malawi over 50% of the caloric intake is from maize and Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Kenya are not far behind. Maize farming in southern Africa is often done by women to support families while men are off in the South African mines----the maize may also be sent to the men as flour, or turned into beer for their daily consumption.

McCann tells some interesting tales. Though the title seems to promise a religious aspect to corn, there is nothing of the kind. You can read an interesting comparison of the influence of maize in the Venetian Empire and in Ethiopia. Corn radically changed both but in different ways. You'll find a blow-by-blow story of the so-called American rust disease that hit corn and the battle against it. Breeding SR-52, the most important hybrid maize variety developed for African conditions in what is today Zimbabwe, provides an interesting story of science and racial politics.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Catherine H. Chase Peters on January 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
REVIEW FOR AMAZON OF TWO BOOKS ON CORN PURCHASED THIS PAST
DECEMBER, 2009AS GIFTS FOR MY FATHER, A RESEARCH HYBRID CORN BREEDER, GENETICIST, AND PROFESSOR OF GENETICS AND BOTANY

I ordered two books for my father at Christmas. He is a PhD geneticist specializing in hybrid corn, so the announcement of two new books related to corn crop production was exciting news!

I purchased both books below:
1. Maize and Grace - Africa's Encounter with New World Crop 1500-2000
By James C. McCann

2. Corn Crop Production - Growth, Fertilization and Yield
Edited by Arn T. Danforth

The first book: Maize and Grace is a paperback and reasonably priced at $18.00. At the beginning it goes back to the 3 parent origin of corn which has been proven to be incorrect and out-of-date, is a tri-partite hypothesis (teosinte/tripsacum/primitive) pushed by Harvard Professor Mangelsdorf.

Corn in fact is a descendent of "teosinte" of Mezo America (Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala) and teosinte is the sole ancestor of corn. This defendable hypothesis came from a graduate student at Cornell named George Beadle. Dr. Beadle went on to earn the Nobel Prize for the recognition that one gene = one enzyme (one gene directs the formation of one enzyme).

Maize and Grace begins with correct information..."Maize comes in five phenotypes...all its forms derive from a single ancestor domesticated in Central Mexico..." - this is all fine, though actually it was geographically Southern Mexico not Central Mexico. However, on page 3 there is an incorrect statement made: "Plant geneticists have focused attention primarily on the Mexican plant teosinte, perhaps a cousin of maize but probably not its progenitor.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Search
ARRAY(0xa67abcfc)