The Living Fields: Our Agricultural Heritage

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All civilizations, ancient and modern, are founded on agriculture. In this fascinating account of one of the most fundamental aspects of humankind's march from prehistory to the present day, the author considers the evidence for the origin and evolution of agriculture in various parts of the world and presents a balanced view based on the archaeology, botany, genetics, ecology and anthropology of domesticates and their wild relatives. The book describes the basic agricultural systems that emerged from areas yielding traces of the earliest plant and animal domestication and considers their drastic modification in recent times. The present situation is reviewed and the possible risks of a system that now relies on a relatively small number of species to supply the majority of our food are discussed in a concluding chapter. This book will interest professionals in the fields of agriculture, archaeology, and anthropology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...interesting and engaging, drawing on [Harlan's] and his father's experiences as field researchers....solidly grounded in both botany and statistical tables." Choice

"The Living always interesting, flows well, and is fun to read. The bibliography is an excellent source for classic older literature." Plant Science Bulletin

"It can then deepen the reader's knowledge and bring pleasure from the author's interesting thoughts and views about our agriculture is a well-written book with many interesting maps and illustrations." Eliska Rybnicková and Kamil Rybnícek, The Quarterly review of Biology

"The strength of this book, lies in its concise and informal presentation of academic and personal perspectives. These come from a credible source, and an impressive breadth of experience. Anyone with an interest in plant domestication as an evolutionary process will find The Living Fields a useful, often thought-provoking, and generally enjoyable read." Hugh D. Wilson, Economic Botany

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521649926
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

1. 'Of Pride and Prejudice'… Jane Austen; 2. Evolution and revolution: the process of domestication; 3. Stones and bones; 4. The Near East; 5. Africa; 6. The Far East; 7. The Americas; 8. Some traditional techniques; 9. Where we stand; References; Index.

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