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Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World Paperback – Dec 30 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (Dec 30 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452290082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452290082
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

Review

aClear, engaginga]admirablea]part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure.a
a"San Francisco Chronicle"

?Clear, engaging?admirable?part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure.?
?"San Francisco Chronicle"

"Clear, engaging...admirable...part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure."
-"San Francisco Chronicle"

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you have even a smidgen of what the United Fruit Co. was all about, you will love this look at the world's most popular fruit--the banana. That connection will help you understand the true meaning of a banana republic and how US foreign policy in Latin America was shaped by this fruit (get the book and all will be revealed).

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Koeppel covers just about all conceivable ground, but his concise political and historical summaries are rather more effective than his attempts to deal with the more scientific side of the story. These are diffuse if not obscurantist or irrelevant (e.g., a page-long description of a banana-devoid street outside a building that houses an institute devoted to study of the banana). Students of Central American history are likely to find the relevant sections of the book of interest.
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Format: Paperback
Borrowed this book from a Honduran library and couldn't put it down! Fascinating primer on the world's most popular fruit- covers history, trade, disease, politics, reproduction etc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shipped quickly... and the book is actually a fantastic read! Enjoyed it immensely!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fabulous book. I now want to tour the world eating bananas.
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