Books  Sustainable Development  Agriculture & Food 

Bread, Beer and the Seeds of Change: Agriculture's Imprint on World History

By: Thomas R Sinclair and Carol Janas Sinclair

193 pages, b/w illustrations, b/w maps, tables

CABI Publishing

Paperback | Jun 2010 | #186942 | ISBN-13: 9781845937041
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £15.95 $20/€18 approx
Hardback | Jun 2010 | #186941 | ISBN-13: 9781845937058
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.99 $43/€39 approx

About this book

The history of humankind is intimately tied to the history of agriculture: powerful societies rose, persisted and waned in parallel with their food supply systems. Describing what crops were grown, the constraints on their production and the foods that were obtained, this book traces the impact of cropping and food preparation in ten societies that were among the most powerful and influential in history, detailing how technology varied and developed as it related directly to agriculture and food production.

The book covers the background of agricultural development, early agricultural societies, and the advancement of technology from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the present. It finishes by addressing the implications for the future of agriculture and food supply as grain production moves towards biofuels. A compelling text for all those interested in the history of society and civilisations, global agriculture, and what it means for the future, this text is also an essential reference for students of agriculture, food technology, history and anthropology.

This stimulating and easy to read book should appeal to a general readership, including agriculturalists, anthropologists, historians and food technologists.
- Journal of Experimental Agriculture

"'Bread, Beer and the Seeds of Change' makes a convincing and highly enjoyable case for fermentation as a key player in the history of agriculture. This fascinating book will change the way you think about the process and prospects for food production. Indeed, I know of no other book that so clearly illustrates the power of agricultural productivity to influence human destiny."
- N. Michele Holbrook, Harvard University

"Couldn't put it down ... I'm amazed at the information ... and how [the authors] pulled it all together so nicely.""
Jerry Bennett, University of Florida

"[The book] offers exciting and novel insights that make for interesting reading. ... the role that 'bread and beer' played all over the world will draw the attention of an international audience."
- Larry Purcell, University of Arkansas

"A welcome and timely contribution to the growing public discussion of the role of food in our lives. Historically informative and thoroughly engaging."
- Fred Gregory, University of Florida, Patricia Gregory, Nutritionist


Part I. Background
Chapter 1. Why Agriculture?
Chapter 2. What Crops to Grow?
Chapter 3. Beer and Bread
Chapter 4. Human Nutrition and Health
Chapter 5. Cropping Requirements

Part II. Early Agricultural Societies
Chapter 6. Sumerian (#3500 to 2334 BCE)
Chapter 7. Egyptian (#3000 to 1070 BCE)
Chapter 8. Chinese (206 BCE to 220 CE)
Chapter 9. Bantu of Africa (#500 BCE to 300 CE)
Chapter 10. Maya (#150 BCE to 910 CE)

Part III. Technology Advances in Western Societies
Chapter 11. Athenians (550 to 334 BCE) / Romans (509 BCE to 410 CE)
Chapter 12. Feudal Europeans (800 to 1347)
Chapter 13. British (1700 to 1850)
Chapter 14. Development of Science and Technology (1850 to 1950)
Chapter 15. Americans (1950 to present)

Epilogue: Future of Grain Fermentation

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Thomas R Sinclair is an international leader in Crop Science who has undertaken scientific research with cooperators on all continents. He received his BS and MS from Purdue University, his PhD from Cornell University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Padua, Italy. He is currently on the faculty of North Carolina State University. His research has covered a wide range of cropping issues including drought, fertility limitations, climate change, and biofuels. Further, he has studied all the major crops of the world. With more than 40 years of research experience he has developed a unique perspective that allows him to understand the challenges of growing crops and to apply this information in an historical context.

Carol Janas Sinclair has a lifetime interest in foods and nutrition. She has lived and traveled in many countries of the world exploring local methods in food preparation and the cuisine of the countries. The basis for these foods and the variation in cuisine has been of special interest. She has been involved in organizing menus to facilitate new experiences of a range of foods and food preparation. Exploration of historical approaches to food was a natural extension of this interest.

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