Pegasus. Apr. 2018. 352p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781681776774. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781681777207. HIST
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. Once a luxury of the elite, sugar transitioned into an affordable commodity for the masses, but the expansion of sugar cultivation was supported by the institution of slavery. Having written extensively on slavery throughout his career, Walvin thoughtfully depicts how slavery and sugar went "hand in hand." Walvin is also careful to pay credence to other historical shifts and developments that provoked sugar's presence as an everywhere, everyday ingredient, from the spread of U.S. corporate influence during the mid-19th century to the rise of the soft drink industry during and following World War II. And all this steadily led to our dependence on sugar. Walvin explores why sugar consumption continues to remain at an all-time high, despite antisugar initiatives, and reveals the hold that keeps us going back for more, giving readers much to consider as society continues to suffer the consequences of its collective sweet tooth.
VERDICT Recommended for those unfamiliar with sugar's history and power.
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