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Seeds of Change: Six Plants That Transformed Mankind Paperback – 9 Jan 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard; Reprint edition (9 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593760493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593760496
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.1 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

Update
The first edition of Seeds of Change traced the history of five commercial plants - sugar, tea, cotton, potatoes and quinine. This new edition includes a chapter on another historically fascinating plant - the Coca. Henry Hobhouse demonstrates how man's need, or greed, for these products has changed the face of history and shaped destinies.

'This marvellous book is hard to beat.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'Fascinating ...Henry Hobhouse's book makes you think about the mysterious and often paradoxical ways in which providence operates.' DAILY MAIL

'A wonderful read, provocative and well-informed.' INDEPENDENT

'You cannot help but admire and enjoy the company of a man who takes such a novel and global view of history....Seeds of Change is a mind-opener.' SPECTATOR

'The clever dashes across historical disciplinary lines he makes are both audacious and - this is the hallmark of their validity - obvious once made.' GUARDIAN

'I find Hobhouse's theories fascinating ... The perceptions and information that he passes on along the way are a great part of the book's charm and interest...What a delightful and revealing book. I warmly recommend it.' DAILY TELEGRAPH --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Henry Hobhouse has served on various academic, scholastic and local government bodies. He has been a member of various government advisory bodies, a consultant to the Quincentenary of Columbus Exhibition, the Smithsonian Institute and Chariman of Herstmonceux. His other books include Forces Of Change. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is about the history of vegetables and I read it about 10 years ago yet I still remember so much about it. For those who think history is all about kings, parliaments and wars, this book is a revelation.
It is very readable and the not at all highbrow.
By telling the stories of Quinine, Cotton, Potato, Sugar and Tea, Hobhouse teaches us about the creation of nations, wars, countries and civilisations, I am delighted to see it on the Amazon hot 100 and know that all who buy it will be thoroughly entertained and informed. This is the very best sort of book
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Milady on 23 July 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book first when it dealt with just 5 plants and the extra chapter on Coca had not been added. It is one of those narratives that enables you to see history from a different perspective, showing you the patterns and currents of world history and how something as simple as one commodity can twist and change people's humanity, ethics, fashion and taste as well as the drastic changes it can wreak on the world as a whole.
It was written long before the current trend of popular and quirky history and in my opinion, is superior to most of them. Absolute thinking history at its best.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
In the 1980s, I wrote the first book to identify plants as an important cause of change in History. In 1985, this was published in London as Seeds of Change. (The title was thought up by my editors). The book, greeted as an unusual, readable and fresh approach to history, was in the end translated into a dozen languages. It was published in New York in 1986 and lent its theme and title to the Smithsonian Institution for the Quincentennial Exposition of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean in 1492. The Exposition, at the Natural History Museum in Washington (1992), turned into an icon for Political Correctness, being anachronistic, against the spirit of the conquistadors and alien to the message of the book, which tried to reflect the spirit of the contemporary post-Renaissance world, not the guilt of modern people living within the Washington Beltway.
The secondary title of Seeds of Change was Five Plants that Transformed Mankind and these were Quinine, that allowed Europeans to dominate the Tropics; Sugar, that changed the Caribbean population from Red Arawaks and Caribs to White Masters and Black Slaves; Tea, that inter alia, led to the destruction of classical China through the use by traders of opium in exchange for tea; cotton, that, like sugar in the Caribbean, led to a slave-economy in the Southern United States; and finally, the Potato, which produced huge increases in the Irish population and, when disease struck the potato, famine followed as did the greening of some of the United States.
The Seeds of Change Exposition in Washington in 1992 extended the story of transfer to the New World of Old World diseases and animals.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael E Allen on 2 May 2000
Format: Paperback
Like the first reviewer, I also rate this with 5 stars: it is as much about the history of vegetables as "Fear of Flying" was about aeronautics. The case histories tell you more about the virtues and vices of capitalism than you would think possible.
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