Format Paperback
Publication Date 09/10/19
ISBN 9781643132303
Trim Size / Pages 8.7 x 5.6 in / 352

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Sugar

The World Corrupted: From Slavery to Obesity

James Walvin

The modern successor to Sweetness and Power, James Walvin’s Sugar is a rich and engaging work on a topic that continues to change our world.

How did sugar grow from prize to pariah? Acclaimed historian James Walvin looks at the history of our collective sweet tooth, beginning with the sugar grown by enslaved people who had been uprooted and shipped vast distances to undertake the grueling labor on plantations. The combination of sugar and slavery would transform the tastes of the Western world. Prior to 1600, sugar was a costly luxury, the domain of the rich. But with the rise of the sugar colonies in the New World over the following century, sugar became cheap, ubiquitous, and an everyday necessity. Less than fifty years ago, few people suggested that sugar posed a global health problem. And yet today, sugar is regularly denounced as a dangerous addiction, on a par with tobacco. Masterfully insightful and probing, James Walvin reveals the relationship between society and sweetness over the past two centuries— and how it explains our conflicted relationship with sugar today.

James Walvin is the author of several books on slavery and modern social history. including Crossings and A Jamaican Plantation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2008 he was awarded an OBE for services to scholarship. He lives in England.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“A roller-coaster ride through 500 years of history. Sugar is an entertaining, informative, and utterly depressing global history of an important commodity. By alerting readers to the ways that modernity’s very origins are entangled with a seemingly benign and delicious substance, Sugar raises fundamental questions about our world.” New York Times Book Review
“Walvin provides a concise and engaging overview of the history of sugar, exploring its societal and environmental impact from its presence in the human diet dating back millennia to its substantial role in the global obesity crisis.” Library Journal