A Book Report on Tom Standage's An Edible History of Humanity Standage, Tom. An Edible History of Humanity. (Ed) New York: Walker and Company, 2010, Print.
In the text, An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage provides his take on how the past was so deeply affected by food throughout the generations. The book approaches history in a different way altogether: as a sequence of changes caused, influenced or enabled by food. Standage explains that throughout history, food has not only provided sustenance but has also acted as the catalyst of societal organization, social change, economic expansion, military conflict, geopolitical competition and industrial development. As Tom Standage explains, since the time of prehistory to present, the facts surrounding these changes form a documentary that encompasses the entire human history. The food’s first transformative role was the basis for the formation of entire civilizations. As Standage points out, the taking in of agriculture enabled new settled lifestyle and put mankind on the path to the modern world. However, he then is quick to mention that although the staple crops aided the formation of the early civilizations, barley and the wheat in the east, rice and millet in Russia, potatoes and maize in America, they were not simply revealed by chance. Instead, they came out through a multifaceted process of co-evolution because preferred traits were chosen and propagated by the early farmers. Adoption of agriculture as a story is the narration of how early genetic engineers came up with both powerful and new tools that made progress itself possible. In the process man changed plants and eventually the same plants, in turn, transformed people. By offering the platform through which civilizations could be founded, food then acted as a social organization tool, helping to structure and shape complex societies that came up later. Standage does elaborate on this, explaining further that the religious, political and...
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