Monday, February 1, 2010

A New Book To Add To The List

According to this review:

sp!ked review of books | A foodie’s guide to the history of humanity

the life expectancy of the first human farmers might have actually declined. I'm not sure that the reviewer isn't oversimplifying things a bit, but it is an interesting thought.

As strange as it may sound to us now, much of history is truly the history of food--the search for spices leading to the discovery of new lands, the sugar trade and the birth of the slave trade (much of history really is about people being totally rotten, sadly), wars being won or lost because of the ability/inability to feed armies. So far I've been reading books about the history of food--not necessarily about how food shaped history.

Sigh.....I have SO many books to get through yet.....

1 comment:

RobinH said...

I just read this (and have read several of Standage's other books). Fascinating! And yes, he does talk about health in general declining after the advent of agriculture, presumably due to people getting less variety in their diets compared to hunting/gathering. Of course agriculture produces many many times the calories per unit land that hunting/gathering does- he does go into the way land use shifted and what the current research says about why it happened. More interesting to me (it's the engineer thing) is his discussion of how revolutions in agriculture enabled the industrial revolution (if 80%+ of the population has to devote all their energy to food production, you don't have enough of a labor surplus to enable an industrial revolution). I highly recommend the book.