Sugar: A Bittersweet History

Sugar: A Bittersweet History

by Elizabeth Abbott
     
 

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Sugar: A Bittersweet History offers a perceptive and provocative investigation of a commodity that most of us savour every day yet know little about. 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

Overview

Sugar: A Bittersweet History offers a perceptive and provocative investigation of a commodity that most of us savour every day yet know little about. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this study, Abbott (A History of Celibacy) reveals the sordid past of a seemingly innocuous kitchen staple. Because she is a descendant of Antiguan sugar farmers and a former resident of Haiti, Abbott's sugar obsession runs deep and, not surprisingly, focuses primarily on the Caribbean. She recounts the origins and development of the sugar industry as a history of the people who suffered for its profitability. Paying considerable attention to the eradication of indigenous peoples and the inhuman treatment of African and Creole slaves, she is seemingly intent on exposing the immorality of sugar by pairing descriptions of its enslaved and indentured harvesters with startling vignettes of excess sugar consumption in Europe and the carefree lives of largely absent plantation owners. Although Sugar lingers a bit too long on the dark side of sugar production and can at times feel more like a tome on Caribbean slavery, Abbott has still produced a scholarly yet quite readable work. Her closing chapters on "sugar diasporas" and the modern sugar industry ultimately succeed in drawing readers back out of the cruel intricacies of sugar plantation slavery. VERDICT This is no Omnivore's Dilemma. Casual readers in search of a where-does-my-food-come-from tale might be overwhelmed with the details, but it's an intriguing history for those with the patience to stick with it. [See "Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/15/10.]—Veronica Arellano, Lexington Park, MD

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143017134
Publisher:
Penguin Canada
Publication date:
01/29/2008
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.88(h) x 1.00(d)

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"Appropriately powerful...[Abbott] offers up a number of fascinating stories" -- The New York Times Book Review

"Sugar and Sugar both will give readers a lift, and, ultimately, both offer hope." - Library Journal, Editors' Spring Picks

""The author has certainly done her homework." - HistoryWire

Readers will never again be able to casually sweeten tea or eat sweets without considering the long and fascinating history of sugar." - Booklist

"This comprehensive study of a food product found in beverages and menus everywhere is a fascinating achievement for this talented researcher of world history." -- Chicago Botanic Garden

"A 'must' for any culinary collection." -- Midwest Book Review

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH ABBOTT is the bestselling author of A History of Celibacy, A History of Mistresses, A History of Marriage, and Sugar. Abbott has written for numerous media, including The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, and The Gazette (Montreal). She lives in Toronto.

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