Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History Paperback – Jul 1 1997
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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.
“Rarely has a book intended for a popular audience displayed evidence of more exhaustive scholarship. . . . The amount of information Mr. Jacob has unearthed that will be new to most readers is simply astonishing.” ―The New York Times
“This is not merely a book about bread as bread, the end result of grass seed ground into flour, but about bread as a signifier of transformation, both personally and historically.” ―Peter Reinhart, from his foreword
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 Curious, I checked out the copyright date -- it's the early 1940's. So as a purely historical reference this book is indeed outdated. It's a shame; as if a revised and rewritten attempt were made it would be a delightful historical reference.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.
Thus, Jacob's is a unique philosophical work. I can't think of any other book in philosophy or history that makes such a clear presentation of the causes and forces of historical transformation. In fact, the term "genealogy" I have used above has a specific sense that is relevant here. Coined by Nietzsche, "genealogy" is a strategy employed for a philosophical discussion of historical transformations of the sort Jacob discusses. But whether comparing Jacob to Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, Heidegger, or even Hegel and Kant, I can't think of a better example of a philosophical discussion of historical transformations of values and knowledge. As a bonus, the Jacob's method of using a history of bread to present this genealogy makes it far more approachable than most philosophical discussions. I can't recommend a book more highly. I might even use it as a recommended reading for students in my philosophy classes.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
A real learning experience....this book is well researched and written for anyone to understand a most remarkable history. Read morePublished on July 9 2013 by judith H. Brooks
I bumped into Jacobs' book by accident while browsing the shelves in a library; what a joy to see it's been reissued! (The edition I found was dated 1943. Read morePublished on Sept. 1 1998