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.
That being said, the sample was fascinating. Bananas are cloned so that they can be grown seedless. And banana crops are in danger of dying out because they are cloned. What does this all mean for the future of human cloning? Oh the drama. I want more!
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
Wanna know about bananas? Here you go.
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
Who knew? Or rather, who thought about it in this level of detail? Dan Koeppel has, as he details the history of how bananas grow, where they grow, how they became the world's favorite fruit, and why bananas are uniquely vulnerable to disease.
It turns out that this seemingly simple, single-serving size fruit is a complex plant that requires a complex farming and transport system to make it to your kitchen table. Koeppel looks at the economics and politics of this process, which, as the c ...more
I had completed my doctoral thesis on Guatemala, a country considered to be one of the Central American Banana Republics, and was well aware of United Fruit's horrendous involvement, with U.S. government complicity and support, in Guatemala's insurrection, war, genocide, and corruption. United Fruit is now Chiquita and, for th ...more
The problem with the book is that it attempts to do too much in a couple of hundred pages. Evidence is the shortness of the chapters, with some only three pages long. The length of the topics led me to believe the author had ADHD, did not ...more