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Sweetness and Power: Place of Sugar in Modern History Paperback – 27 Nov 1986


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 Nov. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140092331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140092332
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Our awareness that food and eating are foci of habit, taste, and deep feeling must be as old as those occasions in the history of our species when human beings first saw other humans eating unfamiliar foods. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this book for an economic anthropology class. I thought it gave an excellent anthropological perspective on how sugar changed history. Mintz makes some striking points on the influence of slavery on the development of capitalism, as well as drawing a parallel between the sugar plantations in the Carribean and the capitalist, industrial factories that developed shortly after. The book is packed with historical information, overall a really informative read.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Great book. The negative reviews actually support its underlying thesis, which is in part to show that we dont just take something for granted naturally, but that to be able to do so is the result of a process. The sum total of such processes help to create social, cultural and psychological identity. Mintz shows how that process works in terms of sugar and in the process demonstrates the relevance of history and anthropology. Again, Great Book!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
I disagree with the poor reviews of this book. I also read it for an economic anthropology class. It was excellent. Mintz points out some mind-boggling transitions in history, and illuminates time and time again the relationship between laborer and owner of capital.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MJ on 7 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With an exhilarating narrative sweep, 'Sweetness and Power' situates sugar at the emergence of modern consumer society - showing how its production institutionalised slavery and set the template for the industrial age, while its trade broke the links between calories and local food production and ushered in the modern era of global consumerism.

The scope of Mintz's research is remarkable, but it's his insights into how an everyday commodity can reveal the deep workings of history that makes this book such a classic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although now a historic piece, this book is a significant contribution to the history of food in both anthropology and social history. The American perspective does mean that certain aspects of British usage of foods, such as sweetened condensed milk, is lacking in detail. Recommend for anyone looking to read about very significant foodstuff which shows how the interdisciplinary approach is essential in tackling food in history.
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