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Empires of Food

Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

List Price: $16.95

March 20, 2012 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 320 pages | ISBN 9781582437934
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Using the colorful diaries of a sixteenth–century merchant as a narrative guide, Empires of Food vividly chronicles the fate of people and societies for the past 12,000 years through the foods they grew, hunted, traded, and ate—and offers fascinating, and devastating, insights into what to expect in years to come. In energetic prose, agricultural expert Evan D.G. Fraser and journalist Andrew capture the flavor of places as disparate as ancient Mesopotamia and imperial Britain, taking us from the first city in the once–thriving Fertile Crescent to today’s overworked breadbaskets and rice bowls in the United States and China.

Cities, culture, art, government, and religion were founded on the creation and exchange of food surpluses. Complex societies were built by shipping grain up rivers and into the stewpots of history’s generations. But evenutally, inevitably, the crops fail, the fields erode, or the temperature drops, and the center of power shifts. Cultures descend into dark ages of poverty, famine, and war.

A fascinating, fresh history told through the prism of the dining table, Empires of Food offers a grand scope and a provocative analysis of the world today, indispensable in this time of global warming and food crises.

About The Authors

Evan D. G. Fraser is the author of Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, which was shortlisted for the James Beard Food Literature Award, and the graphic novel #FoodCrisis. Currently he is the director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph and holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security.

Andrew Rimas is a journalist and the managing editor at the Improper Bostonian magazine; previously he was an associate editor and staff writer at Boston magazine. His work has frequently appeared in those publications, and in The Boston Globe Magazine and The Boston Globe.

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