The Living Fields: Our Agricultural Heritage

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Overview

All civilisations, 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 basic agricultural systems, which emerged from areas yielding traces of the earliest plant and animal domestication, are described and their drastic modification in recent times considered. In a concluding chapter the present situation is reviewed, and the possible risk to a system that now relies on a relatively small number of species to supply the majority of our food is discussed.
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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 Fields...is 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 heritage....it 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
  • Sales rank: 1,141,869
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Of pride and prejudice 1
Ch. 2 Evolution and revolution: the processes of domestication 30
Ch. 3 Stones and bones 63
Ch. 4 The Near East 86
Ch. 5 Africa 116
Ch. 6 The Far East 144
Ch. 7 The Americas 173
Ch. 8 Some traditional techniques 210
Ch. 9 Where we stand 236
References 251
Index 264
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