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Sugar: The world corrupted, from slavery to obesity

James Walvin



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Little Brown
11 July 2017
History; Social & cultural history; Slavery & abolition of slavery; Food & society; Obesity: treatment & therapy
The story of sugar, and of mankind's desire for sweetness in food and drink is a compelling, though confusing story. It is also an historical story.

The story of mankind's love of sweetness - the need to consume honey, cane sugar, beet sugar and chemical sweeteners - has important historical origins. To take a simple example, two centuries ago, cane sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. For all its recent origins, today's obesity epidemic - if that is what it is - did not emerge overnight, but instead evolved from a complexity of historical forces which stretch back centuries. We can only fully understand this modern problem, by coming to terms with its genesis and history: and we need to consider the historical relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span.

This book seeks to do just that: to tell the story of how the consumption of sugar - the addition of sugar to food and drink - became a fundamental and increasingly troublesome feature of modern life.

Walvin's book is the heir to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power, a brilliant sociological account, but now thirty years old. In addition, the problem of sugar, and the consequent intellectual and political debate about the role of sugar, has been totally transformed in the years since that book's publication.
By:   James Walvin
Imprint:   Little Brown
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   460g
ISBN:   9781472138101
ISBN 10:   1472138104
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   11 July 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

JAMES WALVIN is the author of many books on slavery and modern social history. His book, Crossings, was published by Reaktion Books in 2013. His first book, with Michael Craton, was a detailed study of a sugar plantation: A Jamaican Plantation, Worthy Park, 1670-1970 (Toronto, 1970). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2006, and in 2008 was awarded an OBE for services to scholarship.

Reviews for Sugar: The world corrupted, from slavery to obesity

Former history professor James Walvin's latest book aims to untangle the social, political, and economic history of sugar, a commodity that began as the preserve of the elite, but which now saturates cultures the world over' * NZME * A refreshingly historical look at a substance we often take for granted * History Revealed * This study could not be more timely. -- Laura Sandy, Lecturer in the History of Slavery, University of Liverpool A convincing, deep history of this (in)famous product . . . This is not simply the tale of those who toiled to produce sugar . . . Something more than just a scholarly text, this study could not be more timely -- Laura Sandy, Lecturer in the History of Slavery at the University of Liverpool * History Today * As an historian of slavery, Walvin is well-versed in the triangular trade and explains the role of sugar cane in bringing Africans to the Caribbean. His survey of sugar in our lives is very readable. -- Katrina Gulliver * Spectator * A brilliant and thought-provoking history of sugar and its ironies -- Bee Wilson * Wall Street Journal *

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