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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Bread is an object that is always in process of becoming something else: flower to grain, grain to dough, dough to loaf, loaf to crumb. Bread is also often a figure or vehicle of social cohesion: from the homely image of “breaking bread together” to the mysteries of th
Paperback, 168 pages
Published July 28th 2016 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published June 2nd 2016)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  42 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Deborah Harkness
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If, like me, you have been baking bread during recent months, treat yourself to Scott Shershow's BREAD. It's a brief, beautiful read about the history, science, alchemy, and the sheer comfort of baking. Like a good loaf, you will gobble it up with pleasure. A note about BREAD: this isn't a recipe book or baking manual. It's an examination of what bread means to us and how that's changed. It's a thoughtful reflection on bread--(imagine if a loaf of sourdough could write a beautiful memoir...). ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Qu'ils mangent de la brioche! said Marie-Antionette.

Yup, let them eat BREAD. How did we get cake out of that?!

With the opening a quote from my favourite person ever, David Bowie, I rose to the occasion.

Packed full of facts, great narrative and differences of opinion on the benefit or detriment of bread, it is all fascinating regardless.

You might buy bread; good bread.

Soon to be part of my library.

Must read!
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
My first time reading an object lessons book and this one did a good job of being just brief enough to enjoy and get some good information from. I especially liked the way the author contextualizes the idea of bread at the beginning
Margaret Sankey
Although I have enjoyed other books in this series, having a "leading deconstructionist" reflect on bread results not in cogent or thoughtful insights, but in meandering and pretentious asides. There are a few highlights--the social status markers of medieval bread, the early 20th century struggle to sanitize a product that relies on contamination by yeast, and the politics of gluten-free policy. Not really food history, not really social history, the Reaktion books did this better. ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Bread by Scott Cutler Shershow is another in the Bloomsbury Academic series. Shershow is a professor of English at UC Davis. His MA and Ph.D. are both from Harvard University,

Bread is a simple thing. It is taken for granted. It is also mentioned in the most known Christian prayer and came down from heaven to feed the fleeing Israelites. The debate between bread and beer linger on as to what actually lead man to settle in cities and cultivate the land. Shershow reminds the reader that early beer
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another interesting book in the Object Lessons series. There is a world of meaning in something as ordinary as bread and Shershow uses both his love and knowledge of baking (and eating) it and his philosophical ruminations of its history to give new meaning to a commonplace item. He writes: "What captivates me most is not so much bread as a product, nor even an idea, but as a process and an experience." 2 For example, what does it mean to break bread with someone? The word "companion" derives fr ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deep dive (albeit brief) into bread, this little book touches on the history, philosophy, theology, sociology, and biology of our most basic food. Treats include a discourse on bread as "alien;" a meditation on the murky ethics of enlisting living creatures to make dough; a fresh look at the meaning of "give us this day our daily bread;" and a gentle critique of gluten-free mania. This was extremely My Jam.

My one critique is that there were a surprising number of typos in the text-- makes me
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I enjoy the Object Lessons series where authors write essentially a long form essay around a specific topic or concept. Bread leaned a little too heavily into the philosophy and etymology for me. I did find the portions on baking, agriculture, religion, and revolution very interesting, though.
Lauryn Oviedo
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think the authors shoot a decent shot at looking at bread through a philosophical view and its extended meanings and interpretations in different cultures and sub-cultures across the world. Makes you think about bread just being food.
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another welcome addition to the ever-fascinating Object Lessons series, books that look at the ordinary and everyday things that surround us and which invariably turn out to be not so ordinary after all. Scott Cutler Shershow turns his attention in this volume to bread, that staple of everyday life, and in this intriguing and thought-provoking study looks at the importance, significance, symbolism and historical place of bread throughout the ages. Informative, interesting and a joy to read.
Eileen Hall
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very informative book on the history of bread making, including the significance of this staple food in religious and ethnic practices.
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Bloomsbury Academic via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.
Jul 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
DNF. DNF the introduction, pretentious bollux that it is.
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