Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World Paperback – Dec 30 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
The world's most humble fruit has caused inordinate damage to nature and man, and Popular Science journalist Koeppel (To See Every Bird on Earth) embarks on an intelligent, chock-a-block sifting through the havoc. Seedless, sexless bananas evolved from a wild inedible fruit first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and was probably the apple that got Adam and Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden. From there the fruit traveled to Africa and across the Pacific, arriving on U.S. shores probably with the Europeans in the 15th century. However, the history of the banana turned sinister as American businessmen caught on to the marketability of this popular, highly perishable fruit then grown in Jamaica. Thanks to the building of the railroad through Costa Rica by the turn of the century, the United Fruit company flourished in Central America, its tentacles extending into all facets of government and industry, toppling banana republics and igniting labor wars. Meanwhile, the Gros Michel variety was annihilated by a fungus called Panama disease (Sigatoka), which today threatens the favored Cavendish, as Koeppel sounds the alarm, shuttling to genetics-engineering labs from Honduras to Belgium. His sage, informative study poses the question fairly whether it's time for consumers to reverse a century of strife and exploitation epitomized by the purchase of one banana. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Dan Koeppel is a well-known outdoors, nature, and adventure writer who has written for the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Audubon, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure, where he is a contributing editor. Koeppel has also appeared on CNN and Good Morning America, and is a former commentator for Public Radio International's Marketplace.
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Top Customer Reviews
Banana doesn't stop there. The author presents some important yet not widely known info about the fruit. We learn about the popular varieties of bananas (yes, not all bananas are created equal), the lyrics of that famous Carmen Miranda song that presented such a falsehood about refrigerating bananas, the reason genetic modification may actually save this tasty fruit from extinction and many more tangents that help us understand why this simple fruit is a world changer.
The writing is in-depth but with a breezy style. Adding the "Banana Time Line" in the Appendix was a stroke of genius. Even the cover adds a nice, almost Warholian Velvets and Nico album cover, touch by having the banana pictured actually feel like a banana skin when you run your fingers over it.
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