Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
In the vein of the bestselling Salt and Cod, a gripping chronicle of the myth, mystery, and uncertain fate of the world's most popular fruit
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, B
Bananas. Do I care? Sort of.
I found about half of this book to be incredibly interesting. The political implications of banana production, the fact that the banana as we know it may soon cease to exist altogether, a bit of banana history - these are the parts that managed to hol...more
I’m a big fan of “commodity histories” -- books on how everyday objects and products have become interwoven into our daily lives. It's odd that while many educated Americans know the year the Titanic sank, for example, scarcely any of them know the provenance of the items on their breakfast table – the coffee in their cup or the banana sliced onto their cornflakes. And this is a shame, really, for it’s quotidian details as much as major events that shape our lives.
It turns o...more
This is yet another entry in the single-subject world of non-fiction. The narrowness of focus in books such as Salt and Cod and The Book on the Bookshelf and The Pencil and Longitude seems to be an increasingly preevalent trend in publishing. I am all for it on one level, since I like delving into the abstruse and wallowing in details that leave most people I know colder than a penguin's butt in the middle of the Antarctic winter; but on another level, I want to stop these publ...more
This book covers the history -- and future! -- of the humble banana. It starts with its beginnings in Asia, its geographic and evolutionary progressing, and the arrival of the banana to America.
Bananas are incredible: the popular ones have no seed, and reproduce asexually. Since they're all genetically identical, they are very susceptible to disease. In fact, today's banana (the Cavendish) wasn't the first popular banana in the US. Tha...more
Koeppel does a great job of simplifying the science and getting right to the heart of the matter.
Jadi, Saudara-saudara sekalian, pohon pengetahuan yang terlarang di surga itu bukan pohon apel. Tapi pisang. Ulangi kata-kata saya, PI-SANG! Hanya karena kesalahan penerjemahan bibel saja membuat orang awam jadi mengira buah yang menggoda Hawa itu adalah buah apel.
Kalau saja tidak ada kesalahan intrepretasi itu, pasti lagu Anita Sarawak yang populer itu akan berjudul Tragedi Buah Pisang.
Dan buku ini, Saudara-Saudara yang budiman, memang bukan hanya bercerita tentang sejarah pohon dan...more
And the first hundred pages or so were really interesting. I had no idea that before 1870, Americans didn't eat bananas at all. Then bananas exploded on the scene faster than Gangnam-style. United Fruits (Chiquita) and Standard Fruits (Dole) were ruthless robber barons that made the era of r...more
Good thing most banana-related topics are interesting! Also, I learned the following from this book, and I consider it to be the most mind-blowing fact I've learned from a book this year (at least):
"The Philippines also grow several clo...more
United Fruit and Standard Fruit (tod...more
The most alarming thing I learned was that the type banana we no...more
"How the hell can bananas be interesting enough for an entire book?"
Every time I came across it again (small library)
"There's that damn banana book again. Fuck you, banana book. Stop clogging up my shelf."
Finally one day I took the Banana Book Dare. I took it home to read it.
"Okay, banana book. She me whatcha got. Justify your pages."
I stand corrected. It was fascinating. I only wish I ha...more
Ultimately the book was a bit too repetitive, and yet even with the repetition it was not quite clear about a few key things to leave me with a prec...more
Like THAT hasn't been said before. I read this book, coincidentally, along side of 'The Windup Girl' by Paolo Bacigalupi. Bacigalupi's book dealt with a near future world that had suffered near destruction on the basis of world crop failure, of everything. In this world most countries rely on corporations that hold genetic rights over disease resistant crops that are also sterile.
Why am I explaining this to you? In Koeppel's book he discusses this very concep...more
I did learn a lot though. There's a large focus on banana republics - which, it turns out, are not just clothing stores (but now that I think about it, why on earth did they choose that name for their store?).
And for anyone who's interested (or opposed to) biotech food, there's much to be learned. Apparently, if we don't start accep...more