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Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History [Paperback]

H. E. Jacobs
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 1997 Cooks Classic Library
Yeast, water, flour, and heat. How could this simple mixture have been the cause of war and plague, celebration and victory, supernatural vision and more? In this remarkable and all-encompassing volume, H. E. Jacob takes us through six thousand dynamic years of bread's role in politics, religion, technology, and beyond. Who were the first bakers? Why were bakers distrusted during the Middle ages? How did bread cause Napoleon's defeat? Why were people buried with bread? Six Thousand Years of Bread has the answers. Jacob follows the story from its beginning in ancient Egypt and continues through to modern times. The poignant and inspiring conclusion of the book relays the author's experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, subsisting on bread made of sawdust. (6 X 9, 416 pages, illustrations)

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Bread's history has frequently been a recipe for disaster. The well-baked loaf--aside from being the main event in one of the major food groups--has caused wars, supernatural visions, festivals, and plagues. H. E. Jacob's celebratory book toasts bread from its earliest beginnings in Egypt, where it was one of the treasures entombed with the dead, to the author's own experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, where a bread made of sawdust kept him alive. The maker of paupers and kings, our daily bread and its evolutions are deliciously described in this illuminating text.

From the Back Cover

Yeast, water, flour, and heat. How could this simple mixture have been the cause of war and plague, celebration and victory, supernatural vision and more? In this remarkable and all-encompassing volume, H. E. Jacob takes us through six thousand dynamic years of bread's role in politics, religion, technology, and beyond. Who were the first bakers? Why were bakers distrusted during the Middle ages? How did bread cause Napoleon's defeat? Why were people buried with bread? Six Thousand Years of Bread has the answers.Jacob follows the story from its beginning in ancient Egypt and continues through to modern times. The poignant and inspiring conclusion of the book relays the author's experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, subsisting on bread made of sawdust. (6 X 9, 416 pages, illustrations)

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Customer Reviews

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1.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable read July 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A real learning experience....this book is well researched and written for anyone to understand a most remarkable history. All bread lovers should read this to appreciate the story behind our wonderful loaves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Perspective on World History June 6 2003
Format:Paperback
I picked up a copy of Six Thousand Years of Bread in an anitque shop. It sat on my shelf for years. I finally read it. WOW! What a fascinating look into the history of civilization-all based on grain and bread. According to H.E. Jacob's convincing theories, the rise and fall of nations is all attributed to grain and bread. H.E. Jacob, a Nazi Germany escapee is an excellent writer and the book reads like an intriguing mystery novel that spans 6,000 years.
It was published in 1944 and ends it's story during WWII. I would love to see it revised and expanded to include new discoveries about history and to bring it 's story into the 21st Century.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Philisophical, but outdated as a reference book. Dec 15 2001
Format:Paperback
This book discusses the history of bread from the viewpoint of western philosophy. That said, the earlier cultures (such as Egypt, for example) are not Western by nature -- and so a Judeo-Christian approach is applied to some societies that was not necessarily a part of them originally. It is more a modern interpretation of said history, which makes this a perfect book if you're looking for that. However, the title and the back of the book are misleading about this for the most part, unfortunately. I was expecting a very different book from the one I received. As I said before though, other readers may be pleased with the content. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.
After rereading the book, I noticed that the sources in the back are from the very early 20th century, and indeed, some from before. None were dated past around 1940 or so. Curious, I checked out the copyright date -- it's the early 1940's. So as a purely historical reference this book is indeed outdated. It's a shame; as if a revised and rewritten attempt were made it would be a delightful historical reference.
That aside, if the history of food is a turn on for you, and especially the philosophical thoughts on food and society, this would most likely make you happy. It was not a book of pure trivia and history, which made me a bit sad since I've been looking for a good one about bread for a while now. My recommendation is checking it out at the library, and then give it a whirl if it catches your fancy.
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