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    Empires of Food: How Civilizations Revolve Around the Dinner Table (Microfilm) By (author) Evan D G Fraser, By (author) Andrew Rimas

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    DescriptionWe are what we eat: this aphorism contains a profound truth about civilization, one that has played out on the world historical stage over many millennia of human endeavor. Using the colorful diaries of a sixteenth-century merchant as a narrative guide, "Empires of Food "vividly chronicles the fate of people and societies for the past twelve thousand years through the foods they grew, hunted, traded, and ate--and gives us fascinating, and devastating, insights into what to expect in years to come. In energetic prose, agricultural expert Evan D. G. Fraser and journalist Andrew Rimas tell gripping stories that capture the flavor of places as disparate as ancient Mesopotamia and imperial Britain, taking us from the first city in the once-thriving Fertile Crescent to today's overworked breadbaskets and rice bowls in the United States and China, showing just what food has meant to humanity. Cities, culture, art, government, and religion are founded on the creation and exchange of food surpluses, complex societies built by shipping corn and wheat and rice up rivers and into the stewpots of history's generations. But eventually, inevitably, the crops fail, the fields erode, or the temperature drops, and the center of power shifts. Cultures descend into dark ages of poverty, famine, and war. It happened at the end of the Roman Empire, when slave plantations overworked Europe's and Egypt's soil and drained its vigor. It happened to the Mayans, who abandoned their great cities during centuries of drought. It happened in the fourteenth century, when medieval societies crashed in famine and plague, and again in the nineteenth century, when catastrophic colonial schemes plunged half the world into a poverty from which it has never recovered. And today, even though we live in an age of astounding agricultural productivity and genetically modified crops, our food supplies are once again in peril. " Empires of Food "brilliantly recounts the history of cyclic consumption, but it is also the story of the future; of, for example, how a shrimp boat hauling up an empty net in the Mekong Delta could spark a riot in the Caribbean. It tells what happens when a culture or nation runs out of food--and shows us the face of the world turned hungry. The authors argue that neither local food movements nor free market economists will stave off the next crash, and they propose their own solutions. A fascinating, fresh history told through the prism of the dining table, "Empires of Food "offers a grand scope and a provocative analysis of the world today, indispensable in this time of global warming and food crises.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Empires of Food

    Title
    Empires of Food
    Subtitle
    How Civilizations Revolve Around the Dinner Table
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Evan D G Fraser, By (author) Andrew Rimas
    Physical properties
    Format: Microfilm
    Number of pages: 304
    Width: 158 mm
    Height: 226 mm
    Thickness: 30 mm
    Weight: 476 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9781439101896
    ISBN 10: 1439101892
    Classifications

    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: FOO
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T16.0
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    BIC subject category V2: WB, JFCA
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    Libri: I-HP
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15590
    BISAC V2.8: HIS037000
    Ingram Subject Code: HP
    B&T General Subject: 431
    BISAC V2.8: SOC055000
    B&T Approval Code: A45500000
    LC subject heading: ,
    BISAC V2.8: BUS023000
    B&T Approval Code: A14530000
    BISAC V2.8: CKB000000
    B&T Approval Code: A70501800
    LC subject heading: , ,
    DC22: 641.309
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: HIS054000, HIS039000
    LC classification: TX353 .F77 2010
    Thema V1.0: NHB, WB, NHTB, KCZ, JBCC4
    Edition
    1
    Illustrations note
    1 map
    Publisher
    SIMON & SCHUSTER
    Imprint name
    SIMON & SCHUSTER
    Publication date
    02 August 2010
    Publication City/Country
    New York, NY
    Review quote
    "Forget the old stages of human history, the familiar stone, bronze, iron age sequence: University of Guelph geographer Fraser and journalist co-author Rimas make a convincing case that food--or rather, food surpluses--best explain the rise and fall of civilizations. If cultures produce more than farmers eat, and find a way to store, transport and exchange that extra, then urban centres can flourish. Trouble is, food empires have always, so far, grown to the limits of their carrying capacity, hanging on precariously until the weather changes or pests strike, and the whole thing collapses. It's happened everywhere, as Fraser and Rimas demonstrate in their entertaining tour of past disasters. And maybe it's happening again: in five of the past 10 years the world has eaten more than it has produced, causing us to draw down on our grain stocks. There may yet be a lot more food to wring out of technological progress; then again, there may not be." --"Mclean's"