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197 × 120 × 17 mm
160 pages
56 illustrations, 31 in colour
01 Apr 2015

Sugar A Global History Andrew F. Smith

Sugar is one of the most beloved substances consumed by humans, and also one of the most reviled. It has come to dominate our diets – whether in candy, desserts, soft drinks or even bread and pasta sauces – for better and for worse. This fascinating history of this addictive ingredient reveals its incredible value as a global commodity and explores its darker legacies of slavery and widespread obesity.

Sugar’s past is chock-full of determined adventurers: relentless sugar barons and plantation owners who worked alongside plant breeders, food processors, distributors and politicians to build a business based on our cravings. Exploring both the sugar cane and sugar beet industries, Andrew F. Smith tells story after story of those who have made fortunes and those who have met their demise because of sugar’s simple but profound hold on our palates. Delightful and surprisingly action-packed, this book offers a layered and definitive tale of sugar and the many people who have been caught in its spell, from barons to slaves, and from chefs to the countless among us born with that insatiable devil – the sweet tooth.

‘despite the introduction of artificial sweeteners and calorie-free natural sweeteners such as stevia, sugar is likely to remain a significant part of the human diet. Short and sweet, Sugar makes perfect light reading for your morning or afternoon tea or coffee break.’ — IVU online news

‘Praise for Potato by Andrew F. Smith, previously published in Reaktions Edible series: Andrew F. Smith shows in Potato: A Global History, even a lowly spud packs a lot of colorful history.’ — Wall Street Journal

‘Praise for Hamburger by Andrew F. Smith, previously published in Reaktions Edible series: The remarkable feature of Hamburger is that it evinces genuine wonder at the innovation behind fast-food chains. It can be easy to deplore the rise of fast food or take it as a foregone conclusion, but Smith makes a point of celebrating ingenuity and letting the reader enjoy it as well.’ — Gastronomica

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Andrew F. Smith teaches at the New School, New York City. He is the author or editor of 32 books, including Fast Food: The Good, the Bad and the Hungry (Reaktion, 2016).

1. Early Sugar History
2. New World Sugar to 1900
3. Global Sugar
4. Sugar Uses
5. Sweets and Candies
6. American Bliss
7. Sugar Blues
Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements