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Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent Paperback – March 29, 2011
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"[This] accessible account embraces the latest scholarship and addresses the failings of previous works on the subject. Indeed the book, like the tuber it describes, fills a void: the spud now has the biography it deserves."—Economist
"John Reader's superb history traces the potato's rise from mistaken identity to the basic food now cultivated in 149 countries."—Robert Collins, Sunday Times
"As a staple of the global diet, the potato is worth this digestible book . . ."—Iain Finlayson, Times
". . . rarely has this kind of thing been done so well."—Giles Foden, Conde Nast Traveller
"A riveting new history . . ."—Toby Morison, Sunday Telegraph Stella Supplement
"A very thorough historical treatment of the tuber."—Billy Heller, New York Post
"Photojournalist Reader traces the humble potato from its roots in the Peruvian Andes to J.R. Simplot's multibillion-dollar-a-year French fry business. . . . Recommended for academic and large public libraries."—Library Journal
"Potato is more than a history of the spud. . . . [This] is a history of colonialization, industrialization, and globalization whose perspective is determined by the evolutions and adaptations of the 'propitious esculent.' . . . Highly recommended."—A. B. Audant, Choice
"[Potato is] the story of the power of a species of plant to influence and to shape the development of world cultures."—James P. Hammersmith, Southern Humanities Review
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Reader takes us to colonial South America where we see early growers, agronomists, and scoundrels in action. Then potatoes come to Europe. Eventually they take over since they provide four times the calories per acre and are less likely to be disturbed by the marauding armies so prevalent in war-torn 18th century Europe. The impact of potatoes on social history is clear as the cheap calories swell the Irish population. Potatoes eventually go bad briefly in the 19th century leading to the Irish migration and the modernization of the English economy. And now today we have research under way on GM potatoes driven by claims of reducing potentially carcinogenic component levels.
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Extremely well written.Read more