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This fascinating book looks at the causative role of plants in history. The cultivation of and trade in these plants created enormous wealth and changed the history of the world in many ways.
The chapter on timber is titled The Essential Carpet. In it, Hobhouse discusses how the shortage of timber in the United Kingdom led to the use of coal, which led to scientific advances and ultimately to the industrial revolution. On the other hand, the abundance of timber in the USA spurred the westward march of the country during the 1800s.
In The Grape's Bid For Immortality, the author discusses the growing of vines and making of wine from 600BC to the present. Wine has an enormous potential for the creation of wealth, multiplying nett profits wherever it is successful.
In the chapter Wheels Shod For Speed, he tells the story of rubber and how it changed the economies of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and indeed the world. More Than A Smoke is a fascinating account of how the colony and ultimately state of Virginia owes it wealth to tobacco. Initially this area had a monopoly on tobacco by decree of the king of England. This industry created a landlord class, which amongst them counted certain signatories of the Declaration of Independence, like Washington and Jefferson.
The book is full of fascinating facts and observations, for example that the original alkaline tobacco might not be harmful and that the acidity of modern cigarettes might be the root cause of the harmful effects of smoking on health.
Seeds Of Wealth is a truly engrossing book as it deals with politics, economics, global history and more particularly Anglo-American relations, and the role of nature in creating wealth and economic growth. The text contains black and white illustrations and the book concludes with a bibliography and an index.
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 July 2003
As a follow-up to his previous work, Henry Hobhouse has provided another unique and fascinating approach to historical interpretation in the latest fruit of his labor--Seeds of Wealth.
His chapters on timber and tobacco are providing seeds for thought for the Virginia Historical Society to consider doing a museum exhibition on the subject. One of the strengths of Hobhouse's work is his successful use of geography. We Americans have tended to overlook the good work of the historical geographers, while scholars in the UK, like Hobhouse, have taken advantage of their unique perspective of the past. His two works-- Seeds of Change and now Seeds of Wealth--are good examples of putting that discipline to its best use. It's too bad that Seeds of Wealth is not yet available for distribution here in the States.
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 July 2003
As a follow-up to his previous work, Henry Hobhouse has provided another unique and fascinating approach to historical interpretation in the latest fruit of his labor--Seeds of Wealth.
His chapters on timber and tobacco are providing seeds for thought for the Virginia Historical Society to consider doing a museum exhibition on the subject. One of the strengths of Hobhouse's work is his successful use of geography. We Americans have tended to overlook the good work of the historical geographers, while scholars in the UK, like Hobhouse, have taken advantage of their unique perspective of the past. His two works-- Seeds of Change and now Seeds of Wealth--are good examples of putting that discipline to its best use. It's too bad that Seeds of Wealth is not yet available for distribution here in the States.
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on 20 April 2013
I managed the first two chapters, and I'd had enough. The chapter on timber I did enjoy, but then it tailed off. He clearly doesn't like 'environmentalists', and authors who make gratuitous sideswipes irritate me intensely, whoever they are aimed at. While the book carried an authoritative tone, I was left wondering where he'd got his information from and how many other axes he was more quietly grinding.
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on 21 April 2013
My partner read this book a while back and thought it was brilliant, He has read other books by this author and enjoyed them too.
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on 8 October 2014
Good Read!!! Books etc. were a great Company to Deal with!!!!
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