Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars how America may have made a new Europe, July 10, 2011
By 
This review is from: Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World (Paperback)
Norton's well-researched, beautifully illustrated monograph treats an intriguing subject: how Native Americans used tobacco and chocolate before European contact, how and what Europeans learned about these substances, how tobacco and chocolate were introduced to Europe, and what cultural valences tobacco and chocolate shed, gained, or kept in the process. Norton argues that tobacco and chocolate arrived in Europe with strong connotations from their social and religious uses in the Americas, and that Europeans' knowledge of indigenous uses of these substances influenced how they were used in Europe. I found Norton's argument partly but not fully convincing. While she clearly demonstrates that early Spanish colonizers learned about Native American uses of tobacco and chocolate, and that traditional uses of tobacco and chocolate persisted in indigenous communities long after European contact, it seems that by the time these substances were well-established in Europe (which didn't really happen until the seventeenth century), their connection to traditional American uses was pretty tenuous. Norton's theoretical framework strikes me as heavy-handed, and some of her assertions as a little overblown. (My favorite line, apropos early modern Spain: "A day without chocolate came to be viewed as one of great suffering" (p. 195).) To my mind, Sacred Gifts doesn't quite live up to its excellent reviews. Still, it's an important work on the history of tobacco and chocolate; if you have a serious interest in the worldwide diffusion of those substances, don't miss it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.7 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
$24.95 $20.00
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: New York, NY

Top Reviewer Ranking: 29,014