Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World

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Penguin, Dec 27, 2007 - Business & Economics - 304 pages
30 Reviews
Read Dan Koeppel's posts on the Penguin Blog.

A gripping biological detective story that uncovers the myth, mystery, and endangered fate of the world’s most humble fruit

To most people, a banana is a banana: a simple yellow fruit. Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. In others parts of the world, bananas are what keep millions of people alive. But for all its ubiquity, the banana is surprisingly mysterious; nobody knows how bananas evolved or exactly where they originated. Rich cultural lore surrounds the fruit: In ancient translations of the Bible, the “apple” consumed by Eve is actually a banana (it makes sense, doesn’t it?). Entire Central American nations have been said to rise and fall over the banana.

But the biggest mystery about the banana today is whether it will survive. A seedless fruit with a unique reproductive system, every banana is a genetic duplicate of the next, and therefore susceptible to the same blights. Today’s yellow banana, the Cavendish, is increasingly threatened by such a blight—and there’s no cure in sight.

Banana combines a pop-science journey around the globe, a fascinating tale of an iconic American business enterprise, and a look into the alternately tragic and hilarious banana subculture (one does exist)—ultimately taking us to the high-tech labs where new bananas are literally being built in test tubes, in a race to save the world’s most beloved fruit.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Stembie3 - LibraryThing

The book is well researched and well written. It was a little long for me, but I prefer fiction to non-fiction. I read the book because I'd read a good review of it. Read full review

Review: Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World

User Review  - Art Meyer - Goodreads

very good Read full review

Contents

Embracing the
Banana Plus Banana
A Savior?
Golden Child
A Long Way from Panama
Know Your Enemies
A Banana Crossroads
Frankenbanana

Knowledge Is Powerless
A Second Front
Brand Name Bananas
Cavendish
Falling Apart
Still the Octopus?
The Way
A Banana Time Line
Acknowledgments

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About the author (2007)

Dan Koeppel is a well-known outdoors, nature, and adventure writer who has written for the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Audubon, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure, where he is a contributing editor. Koeppel has also appeared on CNN and Good Morning America, and is a former commentator for Public Radio International's Marketplace.

Bibliographic information