A Bittersweet History

Book - 2008
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Impressively researched and commandingly written, this thoroughly engaging book follows the history of sugar to the present day. It is a revealing look at how sugar changed the nature of meals, fuelled the Industrial Revolution, generated a brutal new form of slavery, and jumpstarted the fast-food revolution.
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin, c2008
Description: 453 p. : ill., map
ISBN: 9780143017134
Branch Call Number: 633.6 Abb


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Jul 05, 2014

I was reading a book on rum that got me interested in the history of sugar, which is inextricably linked with slavery and colonialism. Elizabeth Abbot, who has also written books on celibacy and mistresses, delves into the cultural, social, and economic origins and development of everyone's favorite sweetener. It's as much about slavery as it as about sugar ("12 Years a Slave" is mentioned) and, despite its sweet subject, is dark and unsettling, but also necessary reading. It makes you think about where your products come from and the human cost of unfettered capitalism. Some other good books if you like this one: "Rum: A Social and Sociable History," "Salt: A History," "King Leopold's Ghost," and "Capitalism and Slavery."

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