A Bittersweet History

Book - 2009
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Sugar: A Bittersweet History is a compelling and surprising look at the sweet commodity, from how it Africanized the cane fields of the Caribbean to how it fuelled the Industrial Revolution and jumpstarted the fast- food revolution. The book explores the hidden stories behind this sweet product, revealing how powerful American interests deposed Queen Lili¹uokalani of Hawaii, how Hitler tried to ensure a steady supply of beet sugar when enemies threatened to cut off Germany¹s supply of overseas cane sugar, and how South Africa established a domestic ethanol industry in the wake of anti-apartheid sugar embargos. The book follows the history of sugar to the present day, showing how sugar made eating on the run socially acceptable and played an integral role in today¹s fast food culture and obesity epidemic.

Impressively researched and commandingly written, Sugar will forever change perceptions of this sweet treat.
Publisher: London : Duckworth ; New York : Overlook, 2009, c2008.
ISBN: 9781590202975
Characteristics: x, 453 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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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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