- Paperback: 274 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 5, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140092331
- ISBN-13: 978-0140092332
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History Reprint Edition
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Sugar is always a labor intensive project, from the mill, to the distillery, to the storehouse and all the laborers it takes to run these places. Mintz discusses how this need for labor caused the British to look to Africa and other places to find cheap or free labor. With sugar came slavery, and those slaves who did the plantation work generally worked in the Caribbean while the product they created was delivered to British aristocracy.
In the mid-1700Õs sugar is made cheaper and more accessible to the lower classes and at this point shifts in its purpose to sweeten food. And as outlined by the upper statistics, sugar only continues to grow in demand. It is interesting that because sugar started as something precious and hard to come by, when it later became more cheap and accessible to the working class it still seemed to uphold that Òrareness.Ó The working class felt like they were increasing in freedom and status as they started to consume sugar. Sugar and like products Òrepresented the growing freedom of ordinary folks,Ó yet did Sugar really mean freedom?
In analysis of MintzÕs thesis I am most convinced that sugar is a powerful force that has moved us historically and today. Sugar production has not only caused the physical relocation, its consumption has caused us to form class and psychological identity around it; today we still live with the power of sweetness in our everyday life, most of the time not giving it a second thought.
Sugar took slaves from Africa to the new world in America. It created identity in the aristocracy and later a manufactured sense of freedom among the working class. Today it continues to grow in its use across the world and has become an everyday commodity. The more fast paced life becomes in the 21st century, the more consumers are drawn to pre-prepared processed foods consistently with high contents of sugar. Sucrose production separated African families in the 1700s, brought class distinction to EuropeÕs families during its shift to capitalism, and now it severs families from eating together at the dinner table with its processed and fast foods. With these implications either we allow sugar to keep moving us, or we move it off the table, out of the cupboard and dump it into Boston Harbor.