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

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CABI, 2010 - Technology & Engineering - 193 pages
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"This fascinating book will change the way you think about the process and prospects for food prodution...I know of no other book that so clearly illustrates the power of agricultural productivity to influence human destiny." N. Michele Holbrook, Harvard University

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 prodution. The book initially considers growing and eating grains beginning with the transition from hunter-gatherers to agrarian communities. Five early agricultural societies are examined, followed by the advancement of technology from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the present. It concludes 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.

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An outstanding history NOT of the high & the mighty, but of the lives of the people through history who were and are producing our meats, vegetables, beverages, and the methods by which they have done this. The authors are story tellers, building with short, declarative sentences the little-known stories of farmers in each major place and culture, from the hunter-gatherer peoples to modern farming people, and their seeds, soils, and climate requirements, the methods and why chosen, the limitations and possibilities for the future of farming today. Agricultural regions described include the Mid-East, Europe, Central and North America. The title comes from a little-known fact that forms of beer and bread were the predominant, perhaps only, nutrition at each meal. Most of the farming parents and children must have been usually somewhat drunk, and the English Industrial Revolution substituted tea to avoid industrial accidents.
Bob M. Atkins,


1 Introduction
Background The Seeds
Early Agricultural Societies
Technology Advances in Western Societies The Changes
Future of Grain Fermentation

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About the author (2010)

Thomas R. Sinclair is at the University of Florida.

C. J. Sinclair is an Independent Researcher, USA.

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