The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World (2020)

The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World Larry Zuckerman The Potato How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World The Potato tells the story of how a humble vegetable once regarded as trash food had as revolutionary an impact on Western history as the railroad or the automobile Using Ireland England France a
  • Title: The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World
  • Author: Larry Zuckerman
  • ISBN: 9780865475786
  • Page: 373
  • Format: Paperback
The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World Larry Zuckerman The Potato tells the story of how a humble vegetable, once regarded as trash food, had as revolutionary an impact on Western history as the railroad or the automobile Using Ireland, England, France, and the United States as examples, Larry Zuckerman shows how daily life from the 1770s until World War I would have been unrecognizable perhaps impossible without the potato,The Potato tells the story of how a humble vegetable, once regarded as trash food, had as revolutionary an impact on Western history as the railroad or the automobile Using Ireland, England, France, and the United States as examples, Larry Zuckerman shows how daily life from the 1770s until World War I would have been unrecognizable perhaps impossible without the potato, which functioned as fast food, famine insurance, fuel and labor saver, budget stretcher, and bank loan, as well as delicacy Drawing on personal diaries, contemporaneous newspaper accounts, and other primary sources, this is popular social history at its liveliest and most illuminating.
The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World Larry Zuckerman

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    Published :2019-01-16T06:36:20+00:00

One thought on “The Potato: How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World

  1. Jenn "JR"

    This is really a solid book sort of a gateway book it purports to be about the potato, but it s really about land tenancy laws, enclosure, the advent of crop rotation, population growth,famine, fuel costs, social history of home baking the like The chapter Women s Work could be an article to stand on its own He even gets into discussion of the use of utensils, dishes pots and given the late adaptation of forks in the US, and the ongoing use of knives for eating in England it s no wonder that my [...]

  2. Clare O'Beara

    The print is very small in this factual book, which covers the daily diets of the majority of people in Europe for a few centuries We can be glad all over again that we did not live in the old days Importing the potato from the Andes took some time to catch on, and only the fact of it thriving in Europe s conditions made it popular Europe ate grain, meaning wheat bread if people could get it When they couldn t, because of price or growing conditions, they ate rye bread or oats The bread couldn t [...]

  3. Hester

    There is nothing wrong with this book, but I was hoping for something different In general, I enjoy books which use food to teach us history, especially what life was like for ordinary people I usually, however, like to learn a little about the subject before using it as a way to view history Zuckerman writes about how Europeans viewed potatoes, but not much about potatoes themselves I wish he had included a little about their history in Peru before they made it over to Europe I wish I knew ho [...]

  4. Sesana

    I do so love these food biographies This is actually one of the better ones that I ve read Potatoes are a humble food, of course, which is exactly why they ve had such an impact where they ve been grown and eaten Potatoes are relatively easy to grow, with relatively high yields, and relatively easy to store and cook once harvested That perfectly sets them up to be poor peoples food, and that s the exact focus of this history.Zuckerman does a good job of tracing attitudes towards potatoes, from t [...]

  5. Cynda

    Zuckerman speaks of potatoes from time of Aztecs in Andes to contemporary western culture makes good arguments about what caused mid 19th century blight, easy to follow society and charity, adequately easy to follow Zuckerman speaks of interesting questions arising as people tried to make sense of potatoe blight Considering marriage and birth rates, death rates, primary dependency on potato, micro farms, absent large land owners, poverty decreasing amount of milk or other protien to complete pot [...]

  6. Amit Mishra

    This book gives a gastronomical history of how the ubiquitous potato, has played an important role in shaping some of the most important events of the world.Starting from the great famine in Ireland, the French revolution, feeding the teeming millions that worked for the industrial revolution in England and finally the food of the soldiers of the American Revolution, each chapter is a treat to read.How I wish, somebody would do research and add an Indian perspective about how much we love aloo P [...]

  7. Lacy

    Meh It was okay, but the title promised than the book delivered I really didn t see the potato rescuing the western world The plot could be summed up thusly Europe didn t like or trust the potato They they did Then blight happened, and that was sad America was pretty much always okay with the potato The end.I was hoping for .

  8. Lauren

    Dude, it s about potatoes And history And the history of potatoes And how potatoes affected history Of course it gets 4 5 Now if only I could find a copy of The History and Social Influence of the Potato by Redcliffe N Salaman, I d be really happy

  9. Lucy

    Oh dear god, but this was dull I picked it up thinking it would be like the book on salt I read last year, but unfortunately not It was repetitive and dull and definitely not a book I would recommend.

  10. Janet

    I was a little disappointed with this book Even though the title is Potato , the author spends most of his time talking about poverty, land ownership, and other social problems Most of the focus is on Ireland, England, France, and America It would have been interesting to know what impact the potato has had in other parts of the world.

  11. Steven Freeman

    I learned interesting things about the potato and its impact on western civilization Not particularly exciting, but definitely worth reading.

  12. Loraine

    The delicious potato was much reviled by the elite classes when first introduced to Europe in the 1500s, after its discovery in the high plains of the Andes The sweet potato, however, was much favored by Henry the Eighth for its sweetness and because of its reputed quality as an aphrodisiac Legend has it that the potato was first introduced to Ireland in 1590 by Sir Walter Raleigh Ireland was the first European community to embrace this new root crop Zuckerman lays out the history of its introdu [...]

  13. Joelwakefield

    A book with a subtitle that shows that the author wanted to do big, majestic things with it How the Humble Spud Rescued the Western World He did go big with it, but unfortunately he went so broad that he kind of left the potato itself off to the side The book ended up being an interesting look at what people ate in England, Ireland, France, and the United States and a little bit about how the potato made inroads in each country after being a new vegetable starting in the 1500s and then essential [...]

  14. Danceswithwords

    The Potato was by far my favorite of the four food history books I read this spring For one thing, Zuckerman is quite explicit about his focus on France, England, and Ireland, and lays out his reasoning for that focus persuasively For another, the book is much less a string of historical tidbits about potatoes, and far an integrated history of agriculture and the ways in which potato farming made sense in particular peasant economies Zuckerman discusses Irish agricultural law and the peasant ad [...]

  15. Cindy

    I really enjoyed this one I found so much to think about in here Just look at this list of themes up there and this is supposed to be about potatoes But it was amazing how much the humble spud effected.The potato was viewed with some suspicion early on In England, this latest a surprisingly long time In France and Ireland, people eventually loved it as an easy substitute for growing grain, because it took less labor and would grow in poorer soil, as well as being easier for poor working people t [...]

  16. Cate

    The author of this book is a historian s historian He is conscience that his is writing what some call a social history and says so early on And he isbut many of these secret histories, of which I read a lot, are actually not written by historians, or they re historians and something else journalist actually write a lot of these sorts of books Not this guy though, you read a whole chapter about the Great Potato Famine of Ireland and realize that he didn t talk a lot about the potato itself, but [...]

  17. Mia

    Of interest to anyone who enjoys the history or anthropology of food Zuckerman explores the relationship between the acceptance of reliance upon the potato as a food source and the dramatic population increases that shaped the history of the western world over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries He tracks the potato s transition from animal fodder to table staple, primarily in France, Great Britain and the United States and highlights the interplay of utility, social class, and tradition i [...]

  18. Joan

    This excellent microhistory really does cover everything you ever wanted to know about potatoes, from their introduction into Europe from South America to the Irish Potato blight and on to the creation of such modern staples as potato chips and fish and chips Zuckerman covers social, legal, medical, public health, and sometimes even religious attitudes during the west s slow adoption and increasing dependence on the Noble Spud as a staple food source The book is rigorously scholarly but written [...]

  19. Shannon

    I liked this book, almost as much as I like potatoes It s certainly a scholarly read than both The Story of Corn, which I was not able to finish on the first try for a number of reasons I ll give it another try yet and America s First Cuisines, which is nonetheless a good read and suggests there s some good scholarly work behind it If the reader doesn t have a particular interest in the anthropology history of food, I expect he she might find it a bit of a slog It s not an easy, popular read li [...]

  20. Theresafic

    Parts of it was interesting Parts were a little to scholarly for my tastes, although I appreciated he did try to find the truth and not just takes statements at face value The part about America was interesting but did not have much to do with the potato He is right, we still talk about the poor today the same way we did back then with morality and judgment I really felt sorry for the poor Irish, their lives seemed horrible It s interesting the peasants in France were just as poor, but did not s [...]

  21. Andrew James Jiao

    This is the first time I have read anything about a crop that contains such detail I can t imagine how much time is put to the writing of this It s than just the history of the potato, it used the potato as a lens for looking at 17th 20th century Irish, English, French, and American society, exposing their pains, social class struggles, and attitudes It is a long read, since every paragraph is filled with plenty of information drawn from mostly newspaper articles and personal diaries from the 1 [...]

  22. Bev

    Interesting, although I found that some parts went into too much detail while others weren t detailed enough The history and sociology surrounding the potato were interesting to read, but like a previous reviewer I would have liked to see about the potato itself, different varieties, the difference between modern potatoes and the original Andean version, etc Overall I enjoyed it though and it made me crave potatoes

  23. Tom

    For something as everyday and boring as the potato Zuckerman manages to weave a fascinating story from it s origins in South America to Europe and North America, He does mainly focus on Britain, Ireland, America and France and examines how the potato influenced national demographics as well as politics and social and cultural norms from the 16th through to the 20th century.

  24. Sarah

    Very interesting and well researched, though a strong focus on the society and politics behind how the potato was seen as a food with less on the actual potato itself I enjoyed it, and would read the same book on another staple for sure if the author published another one It can be a bit dense at times, but worth the read.

  25. Les Wolf

    From its humble beginnings among the rocky terrain of the Andes mountains to its quasi glorious debut on the American dinner table, this book takes you on a journey through the turbulent life and times of the potato.It s been venerated, denigrated, chastised, despised and disguised Through it all, it has emerged as a dinner staple and made a better life possible for many.

  26. Meaghan

    A fascinating social history of the potato s impact on Great Britain, France, Ireland and the United States I had no idea this vegetable ignited so much controversy This book taught me many things about the way of life and the opinions of people back then, and it had a substantial bibliography for those inclined to read .

  27. Harvey

    I learned a lot about the eating habits in 18th, 19th, and early 20th century England, Ireland, France, and the U.S especially among the lower economic classes Also, I never realized that the potato was so reviled during those years It got blamed for diseases, and was generally looked down upon as fit only for animal feed However, the book tended to drag It should have been shorter.

  28. Michele Blazer

    Who knew one little tuber could be so interesting Around the world and through the ages as our relationship with this edible member of the nightshade family evolves on our collective dinner plate Pay hommage to the humble spud, as it sustained our ancestors and still makes for a darn tasty side dish Hope he writes a book on kholrabi next.

  29. Peterk

    I m only half way through with the book, but lots of fascinating information on how the humble spud became such a critical part of western culture Excellent notes section as well as a fine selected bibliography can t really tell what was left out of the bibliography

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