Buy New
$13.65
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $2.35 (15%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Tastes of Paradise: A Soc... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants Paperback – June 29, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0679744382 ISBN-10: 067974438X

Buy New
Price: $13.65
39 New from $7.97 61 Used from $6.49
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.65
$7.97 $6.49
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Frequently Bought Together

Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants + Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History
Price for both: $22.92

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (June 29, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067974438X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679744382
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This social history of pleasure-producing substances covers the Middle Ages to the modern era from the perch of an adroit and amiable Marxist sociology. Illustrations.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- A lavishly illustrated, anecdotal survey of all of the substances we chew, drink, or inhale for pleasure and how they were discovered and adopted by humankind. The book shows in fascinating detail how each stimulant, spice, or intoxicant served a particular need for an individual culture and how each, in turn, affected that culture and its behavioral norms. There is no index, but the table of contents is extensive, making it both an effective research tool and an enjoyable source of recreational reading.
- Richard Lisker, Fairfax Public Library, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --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

This was a required read for a history class, but it was also a very interesting read.
APRIL KRAMER
The book has many interesting illustrations but in a 228 page book over 100 pages of illustrations are just too much!
Bruce Loveitt
I'm not sure; given the print quality in a softcover book, that the pictures do them justice.
atmj

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Keith Smith on February 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This just had to be a subject right up my alley. Spices? I live in Texas where Tabasco is a condiment (and not a spice) and jalapenos are considered vegetables. Stimulants? I have a coffee cup surgically attached to my hand and Brazilian music runs constantly through my head. Intoxicants? I worship beer. What could be better than a book about all three subjects?
Tastes of Paradise considers the social use of and social importance of spices, stimulants, and intoxicants largely from a Western point of view. It covers the use of spices, the coffee-related ethic of the middle class, chocolate, the rise of smoking and snuff, alchohol and the industrial revolution, and the rituals and places surrounding our drinking. What more could we talk about?
Turns out there's a lot more we could talk about, and what would be better is a book that really covers all three subjects. My disappointment boils down to three basic complaints against the book. The first is by far the broadest. In including "a social history" in the title, Schivelbusch focuses almost exclusively on the social effect of the use of the particular stimulant or intoxicant. Nowhere does he discuss the broader history of the item or the impact of the item on society (read "The True History of Chocolate" for a broader and more thorough presentation on chocolate, for example). My second complaint regards his treatment of specific subjects. Spices get remarkably short shrift (twelve pages total; less space than the discussion of drinking rituals; "Nathaniel's Nutmeg" is a better presentation on spices as a whole), and tea is only considered from the point of view of England (I'm pretty sure that the Chinese and Japanese drank tea, and that there's some social history there).
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
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A.D. on August 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Schivelbusch's Tastes of Paradise provides a refreshingly light-hearted, yet engaging glimpse at some of the substances which, through our stomachs, lungs, and palates, have played a not insignificant role in personal and cultural interactions of European civilizations. Concentrating primarily on western societies between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, Schivelbusch devotes over 50 pages to each of the subjects of coffee, tobacco, and alcohol; he also includes ample discussion of the historical role of chocolate, spices, and nineteenth-century opiates. I read this book as part of a college-level World History class (middle ages- present) and found it to be an enjoyable and worthwhile complement to novels, primary sources, and textbook readings we studied. Spread out in small doses over the course of the semester, it provided an unusual vantage point from which major themes such as Industrialism, Christianity, Romanticism, and social class structures could be more readily understood. Over 100 black-and-white reproductions of period art enhance Schivelbusch's lively discussion of the material. Without suggesting that these substances played an unrealistically inflated role in history, Schivelbusch offers a highly accessible discussion equally suitable for the student or casual reader.
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
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Loveitt on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. It is well written and interesting and I learned quite a bit. The reason I only gave it 3 stars is that the book is too short. There are sections where you wish Mr. Schivelbusch had fleshed things out a bit. The book has many interesting illustrations but in a 228 page book over 100 pages of illustrations are just too much! So, be forewarned! If you are looking for some depth to sink your teeth into this is not the book for you. However, if you are satisfied by small portions than by all means.....Bon Appetit!
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
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on November 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
I must beg to differ with my fellow reviewers about

the merits of this book. I do agree that the treatment

of individual spices is cursory and that the lack of

an index is a disappointment. What I find to praise

here is perhaps the very thing that others find to blame.

Schivelbusch has a point of view that is rooted in

wanting to discover the attitudes, behavior and beliefs

that underlay the European fascination with spicing foods.

He offers a coherent theory-a combination of exoticism and

social climbing. Then examines the consequences of this

fascination in art, literature and society at large.

So this is not an encyclopedia or even a particularly

good guide to sources. Some of that can be better found

in drier accounts like Andrew Dalby's DANGEROUS TASTES.

TASTES OF PARADISE is an accessible and interesting

account of the place that spices, stimulants and intoxicants

have in our world. It is a brisk chronicle of what we have

done with them and what they have done to us, and as that

I recommend it hightly.

--Lynn Hoffman, author of THE NEW SHORT COURSE IN WINE and

the forthcoming novel bang BANG from Kunati Books.ISBN 9781601640005
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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on August 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I do not, in general, read history books - social or otherwise but I have been reading a variety of food-related history and culture books. From this context, I found Schivelbush's Tastes of Paradise to be "just right." He provides the broad framework within which he leads the reader through exploration of spices, beer, chocolate, tea, coffee, snuff, opium (and in an afterword, bottled water). Through the study of the place and manner of consumption, he shows some of the effects of these intoxicants on society as well as the effects of history on the use of these intoxicants.

Two points I found particularly of interest were how the fall of Spain as a world power led to hot chocolate's association with women and children. His brief description of opium as an agent of economic/political oppression also caught my attention. What I appreciated the most, however, was the use of art to substantiate his descriptions of place and manner of consumption. The art added a level of substantiation of his arguments that words could not supply.

True, as other reviewers have mentioned, this book does not cover the whole topic nor even treat all intoxicants with the same level of detail. However, he does provide an overview sufficient for many of us which serves well as a base for those who wish to explore further.
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

Most Recent Customer Reviews