Cotton : The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber

3.59 (209 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the tradition of Mark Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, this endlessly revealing book reminds us that the fiber we think of as ordinary is the world's most powerful cash crop, and that it has shaped the destiny of nations. Ranging from its domestication 5,500 years ago to its influence in creating Calvin Klein's empire and the Gap, Stephen Yafa's Cotton gives us an intimate look at the plant that fooled Columbus into thinking he'd reached India, that helped start the Industrial Revolution as well as the American Civil War, and that made at least one bug the boll weevil world famous. A sweeping chronicle of ingenuity, greed, conflict, and opportunism, Cotton offers "a barrage of fascinating information" (Los Angeles Times)."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 398 pages
  • 127 x 193 x 15.2mm | 272.16g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • The Penguin Press
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Annotated edition
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0143037226
  • 9780143037224
  • 653,417

Review quote

I have to hand it to Mr. Yafa. "Cotton" rules. ("The Wall Street Journal") With wit and intelligence, Yafa demonstrates how a good deal of history can be learned by following a single thread. ("The Washington Post") A comprehensive and often surprising history [of a crop that changed the world]. ("USA Today")
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About Stephen Yafa

Stephen Yafa, a novelist, playwright, and award-winning screenwriter, has written for Playboy, Details, Rolling Stone, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Table of contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1. Spun in All Directions 9
2. Star Turns 25
3. The Barber from Preston 39
4. Revolutionary Fiber 70
5. Camelot on the Merrimack 91
6. Looming Conflicts 118
7. Southern Exposure 147
8. Changing Fortunes 173
9. Two-Horse Power 202
10. Boll Weevil Blues 233
11. The Shirt on Your Back 270
12. Fields of Conflict 305

Afterword 338

Glossary 345
Notes 349
Bibliography 375
Acknowledgments 381
Index 385
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Rating details

209 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 19% (40)
4 37% (77)
3 33% (69)
2 6% (13)
1 5% (10)
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