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222 × 142 × 22 mm
256 pages
80 illustrations, 67 colour
01 Nov 2014

Apple Marcia Reiss

Apples have sustained, delighted and intoxicated people throughout history. This ubiquitous fruit has always been more than something to eat or drink; it is planted deep within the myths, religion and art of almost every culture. Icon of beauty, desire and sin, of wholesome country harvests, healthy eating and hidden poison, the apple is a symbol, recognized as readily as a brand of computers and a record label as it is on supermarket shelves.

One of the most widely distributed fruits on the planet, spread by man, beast and bug over millions of years, today’s apples originated in the mountains of Central Asia and journeyed along the Silk Road to Europe and the New World. From the days of Charlemagne to Johnny Appleseed and the colonization of South Africa, settlers were required to plant apple orchards, leading to the development of new towns. The fruit figured in the politics of expansion and the displacement of Native Americans on the American frontier; once a seasonal fixture of every small farm, the apple is now a global commodity, produced, packaged and distributed as a mass-market item.

This book explores the apple’s history and the latest debates about the use of agrichemicals, the rise of organic and heirloom orchards, and the hopes and fears of genetic crop modification. Beautifully illustrated with historic and contemporary images, and with a directory of popular and heirloom varieties, Apple is a mouth-watering exploration of this fascinating fruit.

‘The latest in the excellent Botanical series examines the mythology and history of this sweet source of temptation.’ — Gardens Illustrated

‘An erudite text is presented in an easy flowing manner so it makes you want to learn more about the subject. The wide range of photographs, mostly in colour, add to the pleasure . . . Everyone concerned with this series ought to be congratulated.’ — Yorkshire Gazette and Herald

Apple is a fascinating overview and insight into the role that the titular fruit has played in human society over many centuries, as an essential foodstuff, a source of intoxicating enjoyment, and as a symbolic icon of a wide range of individual causes, local pride, political movements, and commercial branding. I for one found it a hugely rewarding read.’ — Notes from the Orchard

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Marcia Reiss has worked as a journalist, university professor, public official and advocate, and is the author of numerous books, including Lily (Reaktion, 2013). She is an avid gardener based in upstate New York.

Introduction: Backyard Apples
1. Out of the Wild: An Ode and a Lament
2. A Rose is a Rose is a Rose…is an Apple
3. The Search for Sweetness
4. Cider Chronicles
5. The American Apple
6. Apple Adulation
7. Good Apples
8. Bad Apples
9. Misplaced Apples
10. The Politics of Pomology
11. Apples Today and Tomorrow

Apple Varieties
Select Bibliography
Associations and Websites
Photo Acknowledgements