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Chicle: The Chewing Gum of the Americas, From the Ancient Maya to William Wrigley Paperback – June 15, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Jennifer Mathews has crafted the comprehensive text on the history of chewing gum production in the Americas. With an emphasis on the environmental, social, and commercial impacts of chicle harvesting, Mathews offers a fascinating study of the sticky business. Painstakingly researched, richly textured, and most of all, fun to read! The idea that the seemingly small product of a little-known industry could have such an interesting back story surprised even me—and I actually make the stuff!” —Deborah Schimberg, President of Verve, Inc., makers of Glee Gum

About the Author

Jennifer P. Mathews is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Trinity University and is Co-Director of the Yalahau Regional Human Ecology Project.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (June 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816528217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816528219
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,335,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Harvey H. Guthrie on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Its colorfully attractive cover caught my attention, and a thumb-threw reeled me in. Tip O'Neill said "All politics is local," and, in the end, all history and sociology are rooted in specific particulars. The gum I chew to freshen my mouth and to stay awake while driving the car turns out, under the investigative expertise of Jennifer Mathews, to be such a specific particular. It introduces me to the Central American rain forest tree which provides the chicle from which gum was made. It highlights the social uptightness of the ancient Aztecs, accounts for the wealth that enabled William Wrigley to own the Chicago Cubs and Catalina Island, gives rise to the rough and ready chicleros who harvested chicle. It is a concrete instance of the exploitation by the US of the people and resources of Central America that led to poverty and near extinction of the chicle producing trees, as well as to the basis of almost all present day chewing gum being petroleum derivatives rather than natural chicle. The book is well researched, clearly written, and a delightful learning experince
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Format: Paperback
CHICLE: THE CHEWING GUM OF THE AMERICAS, FROM THE ANCIENT MAYA TO WILLIAM WRIGLEY offers a fine and lively history of chewing gum production in the Americas. Any lending library strong in food history will find this blends culinary history with an assessment of the social and environmental impacts of chicle harvesting. It's well researched, making for a much more detailed account than one would anticipate from the inviting, folksy cover art.
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Format: Paperback
I thought about writing a long and detailed review of Chicle, but... well - how to put it best...? How exciting can a book on chewing gum really be? Yeah, that's right, not particularly exciting.

I would suggest that if you really want to read this book, check it out from the library or borrow it from a friend. You may find yourself very disappointed with its contents. The best part about the book is the colorful cover, actually.

The book was not a complete waste of money, however. It will make an excellent stabilizer for the bad leg of my office chair or a nice surface to mix paints on, and I might occasionally use it as a door stop. That's a lot of value for $12.21 .

The low point in the book is definitely the 'contribution' of 'botanist' Gillian Schultz. The book went from mildly interesting to utterly boring and unprofessional really fast. I think Mathews would have done a much better job without the second author.

Just my opinion.
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