Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World (Anglais) Broché – 30 décembre 2008
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
“Ambitious in scope… both fascinating and disturbing... I’ll never walk through the produce aisle the same way again… [Banana] is at once a political and economic treatise, a scientific explication, and a cultural history.”—The Boston Globe
“Clear, engaging… admirable… part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“[A] brilliant history.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“A fascinating and surprising history of our most ubiquitous fruit.”—Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Monkey Girl and Mississippi Mad
“The history of oil has nothing on that of the yellow fruit.”—Salon.com
Présentation de l'éditeur
In this fascinating and surprising exploration of the banana’s history, cultural significance, and endangered future, award-winning journalist Dan Koeppel gives readers plenty of food for thought. Fast-paced and highly entertaining, Banana takes us from jungle to supermarket, from corporate boardrooms to kitchen tables around the world. We begin in the Garden of Eden—examining scholars’ belief that Eve’s “apple” was actually a banana— and travel to early-twentieth-century Central America, where aptly named “banana republics” rose and fell over the crop, while the companies now known as Chiquita and Dole conquered the marketplace. Koeppel then chronicles the banana’s path to the present, ultimately—and most alarmingly—taking us to banana plantations across the globe that are being destroyed by a fast-moving blight, with no cure in sight—and to the high-tech labs where new bananas are literally being built in test tubes, in a race to save the world’s most beloved fruit.
Read Dan Koeppel's posts on the Penguin Blog.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Any venture this large and profitable will undoubtedly lead to arguments over the division of profits. Central American politicians and farm workers were not in agreement with the share taken by Chiquita. The international banana companies (Chiquita had eliminated most of its competition through punitive trade wars and acquisition) felt their property rights, capital, and technology were at risk. In Honduras, Guatemala, and Ecuador this became a real fight in most cases as politicians brought in the military and covert forces to figure it all out.
The other interesting sections here deal with the inherent difficulties in growing and breeding bananas as they are seedless (we would not care to eat them as much otherwise) and sexless (they dont reproduce as much as grow into an adjacent plant). The first bananas to be globally commercialized were the Gros Michael, which ultimately was replaced by today's Cavendish. The Gros Michael disappeared due to Panama disease and other ailments despite the industry's efforts which included endless replanting, field flooding, and application of enough chemicals to turn workers blue.
For many years various researchers have worked on the next generation banana, as the Cavendish itself is subject to the same diseases that ultimately did in the Gros Michael. The Cavendish was selected as it was less suspectible but Keoppel claims its days are numbered as well. Only in certain especially forelorn sections of impoverished Africa (such as Uganda where the economy is banana based) are genetically modified bananas grown. Those of us in the west may ultimately need to eat GM bananas or no bananas.
This is a good informative book for both the general audience and the trade. Koeppel is an experienced writer who knows how to break down concepts like how bananas propogate and how diseases spread. He is especially talented at tying in the historical and political content. His evidence to support the impending demise of the Cavendish hypothesis is a bit weak. His bias against big powerful industry shows at times but that is probabaly healthy.
Koeppel's book illustrates the value of narrative non-fiction in presenting history and science at street level. As one reader remarked, "I learned more geography and science from this book than I did in high school, though I must say I wasn't the best of students. It proved to me that geography and science can be very interesting if they are put into a form that you understand," or "I picked this up on a lark, having enjoyed another micro history work on cotton. I never imagined I would be so interested in a book on bananas, but just a few pages in and I was hooked. Nice work." Other reviewers had high praise for the book and often were interested in the place in history of the banana and what the future holds.
This is just one more example of the latest trend in contemporary popular science treatises, a trend that we hope continues for a long time.
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