In SUGAR BLUES, William Dufty doesn't just lift the historical mask on sugar, he pulverizes it. I have read other books detailing the biological havoc that refined sugar wreaks on the body, but this is the first book I've seen that places sugar in a historical framework and charts its path of destruction over thousands of years, through the rise and fall of civilizations right up to present-day corporate and government duplicity. The results are truly eye-opening, if not shocking. If you thought sugar was just one of life's sweet little nuisances, think again. It has been one of the major levers for the enslavement and control of human beings for millenia.
The portrait of the historical drama of sugar is this book's strength. SUGAR BLUES does have minor weaknesses, however. It's lacking in science, which these days is important to have when challenging the status quo. It also lacks a systematic argument, the chapters often meandering from subject to subject (the chapter on sugar in cigarettes, for instance, ends with a discussion of sugar's role in auto accidents). Finally, the book sputters to its conclusion as Dufty provides a final chapter on recipes that frankly put me to sleep. He should have stuck to his original purpose here and delivered a final, clinching argument. With a new edition, all of these minor wrinkles could be addressed.
That said, this book's value is nonetheless extraordinary. Sugar is so entrenched in most people's lifestyles that it is practically invisible, taken for granted. But if it has caused half the damage Dufty claims it has, then everyone should do themselves a favor and read his book. It doesn't end there; I know from personal struggle that sugar is incredibly hard to kick. But the first step in any change is knowing you have to make it.