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Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice
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Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Filled with anecdotes and fascinating information, "a spicy read indeed." (Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed the World)

The perfect companion to Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, Pepper illuminates the rich history of pepper for a popular audience. Vivid and entertaining, it describes the part pepper played in b
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Among my Christmas gifts, were a couple of books I received from my brother and sister-in-law here in Winnipeg. Both of these were books of food history. I’ve just finished the first of these, called Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice. In it, author Marjorie Schaffer details the history of pepper and in particular it’s influence in the development of European colonial history, and modern global trade, The book also opens and closes by looking at pepper’s medicinal qualities. ...more
Michael Blackmore
I was torn between 2 and 3 stars personally. Not a bad book, in fact in some ways a fairly interesting book if you weren't familiar with the subject already.

Despite the title most of the book is not so much about the history of Pepper but more about Europe colonialism and the spice trade. All interesting stuff but material I was pretty familiar with having done a lot of undergraduate/graduate work in East Asian and Latin American history.

Most of the sections weren't so much specific to pepper

I got through page 185. The most common types of pepper come from the species Piper nigrum, a vine which is native to southern India and was spread to southeast Asia by Moslem merchants by about 1400. Sumatra was an important source during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Romans were partial to Indian long pepper, Piper longrum and betel nut, whose leaves are chewed, is also a member of the pepper genus (Piper betle.)

Obtaining pepper was one of the most important reasons for Europ

Zohar -
Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice by Marjorie Shaffer is a non-fiction book tracing history through the trade of black pepper. Ms. Shaffer is a business reporter and science writer.

This is an interesting book about this culinary delight. The book journeys through the ages and the competition between the Dutch, English and Portuguese merchants. A nod towards the end of the book to 19th Century American pepper traders ties up the history nicely.

The most interesting part of th
The narrative of the pepper trade seemed to drag without making the connections to modern day that I was looking for. The last third of the book was mare interesting to me. The description of the possible medicinal properties of pepper at the end of the book was interesting but seemed to bed added on as an after thought.
Mar 03, 2014 Clio added it
Shelves: 2014
Packed with info on black pepper, mostly a historical perspective about the pepper trade and the Dutch and English East India trading companies. Interesting enough if you're after a history of trade in the Spice Islands with a focus on pepper.
Tommy Buttaccio
Currently reading this... The author can make some broad over generalizations on some of the info in this book and kind of insists upon itself. But, it has some interesting facts on spices. on page 70/250
David Szatkowski
This is a fascinating book about the the spice pepper. The way this single spice influenced geo-political history is incredible.
Surprising story of our now common spice. Who knew its history was so filled with adventure? Nice illustrations.
Three and a half stars. Really interesting premise and as the author notes, the academic research on pepper has not previously been popularised (at least I haven't seen any other easily accessible book about it). I was very interested in all the colour plates in the middle describing the different relatives of pepper.

However, I have returned it to the library without finishing it as I felt it was getting repetitive.
Rod Meyer
I was actually reading this book to help my son with a book report. The book starts strong and is very interesting but then begins to read too much like a history book and gets a little dry and boring. It finishes up strong with some of the current and future possible uses of pepper.
Pepper is probably my favorite spice, but I knew little of the history and the violence behind it. This was a fascinating book with larger-than-life characters and an exciting story. Marjorie Shaffer's history reads much like a sprawling novel. Try it; you'll like it
The facts are there, they're just not organized very well. It's as if it were written by a teenager with undiagnosed ADHD.
Cheryl Williams
I have newfound respect for pepper and what a crazy history it endured to make it onto my plate!
Everything you always wanted to know about pepper and then some.
Heavy on information (much of it repetitive), light on story
Susan Kennedy
Excellent book. I learned a lot history.
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