This book is an excellent critique of global capitalism’s inability to either feed the world’s population adequately or safeguard our environment for future generations. Martin Empson shows how the development of agriculture was one of the most important inventions in our history, producing more food than we actually needed. The existence of this surplus had enormous effects on early human history, leading to the rise of organised religion and of the first embryo of the state. Using telling examples from throughout human history, the author shows how agriculture has underpinned all human progress, as its success or failure in responding to growing population size has been determinant for the success or failure of so many societies. It's not all one-way, though – the arrival of modern agriculture has had devastating effects on indigenous communities and cultures, and, more recently on the ecosystem. The second half of the book concentrates on the rise of modern agriculture and its complex effects – malnutrition in parts of the developing world alongside the exportation of food to the west, appalling inequalities in wealth and health, and now the growing threat of ecological collapse. Empson's book is refreshingly rooted in a Marxist analysis of the way the world is, and how to change it. It also contains loads of fascinating facts about tractors and ploughs, without which society would not be the way it is. Highly recommended.