I bought this book after seeing the original exhibit many years ago at the Smithsonian. The book stands alone and is a wonderful introduction to the topic of the impact of food on history for anyone. You do not have to be a scientist or an historian to read, comprehend and enjoy. The book contains a great deal of information on the migration of New World food crops to the Old World and their impact, as well as chapters on Africa and American Indians and case studies on Montserrat and Antiqua. The illustrations are plentiful and varied from contemporary color photography to historic photographs to historic illustrations.
One of the most important events in human history was the Columbus landing in the New World in 1492. One of the most important aspects of this initial encounter and those that followed it was the exchange of species across the ocean. These species include but are not limited to the horse, potato, sugarcane, maize, tobacco, and corn. This book, published at the 500th anniversary of the 1492 landing, examines how these exchange of species has transformed societies on both sides of the Atlantic. Tie-ins with later events are carefully explained, such as the growth of slavery to work on the sugar cane and tobacco farms. The book is actually a compilation of essays, and each essay can be read separate from the others, and each is well-referenced. Altogether, a good book on an important subject.
For anyone as fascinated as I am about how plants and foodcrops have moved around our planet and transformed societies and whole continents in the process, this is the volume you want on your shelf. Oversized, with well designed pages and a visually interesting mix of text, graphics and maps, the Smithsonian seemingly let all the stops out when they commissioned the collection of articles that make up this volume. As relevant today as twenty years ago. Works great as either a good read or equally good text for any adventurous History class.
A fascinating look at the greatest biological collision in history, as the plants and animals of the Old and New Worlds encountered each other. This series of very well researched essays trace the aftershocks across the world, as Old World livestock conquered the range, and Native food plants boosted supplies from Europe to China. Seldom have the histories of corn, pigs, potatoes, cows, tomatoes, or sheep been explored in such an insightful, dramatic way.