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Milk: A Local and Global History Paperback – August 7, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] serious work of history with great illustrations."—Marion Nestle, The Atlantic
(Marion Nestle The Atlantic.com)

“[A] stimulating cultural history.”—Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times
(Nick Rennison The Sunday Times 2011-07-31)

“[A] fascinating history.”—Alex Renton, The Observer (Alex Renton The Observer 2011-07-31)

“Valenze’s book is an engagingly written and well-researched foray into a huge territory, pulling a mass of material into sharp focus and revealing milk as both strange and familiar.”—Nicola Humber, Times Higher Education
(Nicola Humber Times Higher Education 2011-09-29)

"[Valenze's] documentation of milk’s transformation into the modern product that underpins today’s hugely diverse dairy products industry offers some insights and precedents useful in helping address current food supply concerns."—Mark Knoblauch, Booklist
(Mark Knoblauch Booklist)

“[C]omprehensive… covers everything from milk's role in mythology to its effects on animal husbandry to its transformation into cheese.”—Catherine Price, Slate
(Catherine Price Slate)

"An exceptionally well-crafted and intriguing history of milk's career in human societies over the last three thousand years." —Frank Trentmann, author of Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption and Civil Society in Modern Britain
(Frank Trentmann 2010-09-14)

"A well-written, engaging, wry history of milk. No other book covers the territory in quite the same way."—Amy Bentley, New York University

(Amy Bentley 2010-09-13)

"Milk is the place to go to begin understanding how we got from dairy maids to industrial milk production and current debates about the value of raw."—Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, NYU; author of Food Politics and What to Eat   
(Marion Nestle 2011-03-03)

"Milk is too rich to skim. From Hinduism’s sacred Cow of Plenty through Mongol mare’s milk to the western world’s 'cow love' and industrial milk production, Deborah Valenze’s history is always engrossing and satisfying."—Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar: A Bittersweet History

(Elizabeth Abbott 2011-03-17)

"Simple, wholesome, daily fare? This epic saga will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about milk – from the health benefits and safety, to its nutritional value and hallowed place in the American diet. This is an enourmous gulp of a history, traversing many centuries and the myriad of attitudes toward milk that could not possibly be more different than our own."—Ken Albala, Co-Author of The Lost Art of Real Cooking
(Ken Albala 2011-04-01)

"From Ancient Egyptian cow-god worshippers and breastfeeding saints to the expansion of milk-drinking in Asia today, Valenze brings together a world history of cultures and personalities that has elevated milk to a magic substance in the Western, and Westernized, imagination."—E. Melanie DuPuis, author of Nature's Perfect Food: How Milk Became America's Drink

(E. Melanie DuPuis 2011-04-12)

“The book is detailed and engaging, with plenty of eccentric characters, from female Renaissance scholars supping with the peasants to military men fighting over condensed milk for their coffee.”—Louise Gray, The Daily Telegraph
(Louise Gray The Daily Telegraph 2011-07-16)

"With scholarly precision, Valenze recounts the stories of such worthies as Gail Borden, who industrialized the production of condensed milk. She also quotes widely from historical and literary sources. Her documentation of milk’s transformation into the modern product that underpins today’s hugely diverse dairy products industry offers some insights and precedents useful in helping address current food supply concerns."—Mark Knoblauch, Booklist
(Mark Knoblauch Booklist)

Won Honorable Mention for the 2011 New England Book Festival in the General Non-Fiction category. This award is given by the JM Northern Media family of festivals, and sponsored by the Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, eDivvy, Shophanista and Westside Websites
(Honorable Mention General Nonfiction New England Book Festival)

About the Author

Deborah Valenze is professor of history at Barnard College. She lives in Cambridge, MA.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300188129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300188127
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was my reading companion through one whole summer--packing enough punch for the historian in me, but digestible and with enough story to sustain me beyond initial subject interest. Very succinctly, Milk: A Local and Global History traces milk's doubters and champions through a wide range of culinary, nutrition, cultural, religious, childcare, hygiene, and medical practices, mostly in Europe and North America. Though Valenze does not only focus on cow's milk, much of the later story becomes how that substance, not widely drunk in Europe, comes to be a central commodity by the end of the 19th Century there and in many countries around the world. Many of what I think of as contemporary discussions or food issues Valenze bears out to have long roots: breast milk or animal milk (which is better for the child)?; cow's milk versus goat's milk (I was stunned to learn of an earlier prevalence of goat's milk drinking in the US); raw versus pasteurized (a raging debate went on about this in the early 20th Century; I greatly appreciate that Valenze takes no sides in this debate and displays the very real concerns on both sides); Dutch farming practices of building soil three - four hundred years ago (soil building practices now widely advocated in alternative agricultural); the prevalence of milk drinking in India (I assumed this to be a long-standing practice--Valenze shows it as a more recent development); and, the connection between women taking care of milk herds and the introduction of "scientific" management and industrial processes into milk production, leading to the elimination of the milk maid. On a whimsical note, though Valenze does not mention A Clockwork Orange's Moloko Milk Bar, I was surprised to learn of the prevalence of actual milk bars in places like Australia in the 1950s...Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw this book on the table of a cheesemaker I was visiting in England and ordered it as soon as I got home to the US. It delivered a wonderful, amazingly well written and insightful history that has given me a broader perspective on not only the dairy industry, but on the current state of food regulations and issues.

If you are a food lover, cheesemaker, or in any dairy related industry, I would really encourage you to own and read this book. So many "milk" focused tomes veer into political or philosophical extremes, but Ms. Valenze really did a great job, in my opinion, staying passionately neutral and sharing facts.

Thank you for this great book!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thorough historical and sociological analysis of the rise of milk as today mythological foodstuff and of the rise of the dairy industry.
Good read.
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By Walrus63 on December 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Super fun and enjoyable to read.
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