Essay about A Book Report on Tom Standage's an Edible History of Humanity

Words: 1127
Pages: 5

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,
…show more content…
Standage explains that potatoes and sugar served as the the steam engine in the process of industrial revolution. Sugar production on plantation in the West Indies was considered the first prototype of the industrial process that mainly relied on slave labor. Meanwhile, potatoes served as the first staple food among the Europeans that yielded more calories than cereals from their given area of land. Together, as Tom Standage mentions, potatoes and sugar offered cheap sustenance for the workers in the new factories in the industrial era. In Britain, for instance, where the process first started, the question of whether the future of the country lies in industry or in agriculture was decisively and unexpectedly answered by the Irish potato famine of the mid 19th century.
The use of food as a war weapon was unfair to say the least, however, the massive military wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries increased this atrocity to a totally different level. As the author informs us,the reader, food played a vital role in determining the consequences of the two conflicts that defined the USA, the revolutionary war of the 18th and the 19th centuries. The 20th century mechanization of war gave the impression that it was the first time in history that feeding machines with ammunition and fuel became more of an importance than feeding food to the soldiers. As Tom Standage points out,