"This fascinating book will change the way you think about the process and prospects for food production ... 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 production. 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.
"Bread, Beer and the Seeds of Change is more than just a mere history or sociology text for discussions in a college classroom. The book is also an interesting read for the casual reader. I found the insets used throughout the book provided readers with a wealth of interesting insights into agriculture and sociology.
A word of warning; this book may take a while for some to read, especially, those who happen to be beer connoisseurs. I experienced an unexplainable thirst for beer starting with Chapter Four after reading a recipe and instructions for brewing credited to George Washington. All readers may not have this problem, but for me I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bread, Beer and the Seeds of Change, with a bottle of beer close at hand."--Homer C. Emery "Economic Botany "