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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Black Gold: The Dark History of Coffee
Price:£9.69+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 3 February 2013
While this book does hold some interesting and valuable information the author makes it a laborious read with drawn out chapters that seem to have little or no relevance to the topic. Furthermore, as a coffee professional it was hard to look past the overwhelming factual mistakes that litter this book. It makes me think the information I found interesting in this book may not be based on much fact at all. Overall its a unnecessary amount of reading for little or no reward and I suggest you avoid it. There are much better researched and written books of this type.
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on 1 December 2013
There are some interesting facts peppered throughout this book. The author traces coffee from its Ethiopian roots through its first commercial cultivation in Yemen and through the Ottoman Empire where it branches off in various directions, sowing the seeds of dissent and revolution in Europe's coffee houses.

Antony Wild makes many interesting connections between history and its famous figures and the manufacture and consumption of coffee with some interesting passages on Napoleon (and his exile on St Helena), the French writer Arthur Rimbauld, the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.

The final chapters deal with modern coffee production, linking in slavery and genocide before giving us a run-down on today's (or 10 years ago when the book was written) coffee-producing countries and how naughty we are in the West, particularly the USA and their various intrigues in Central and South America.

What this book lacks is a little discipline. Although engaging in parts, it frequently falls apart though Wild's lack of experience as an author, with some poor research and tenuous links such as stating Jim Morrison's age (at the time of his death) was 37, when most people know that he died at 27. And why was Jim Morrison mentioned at all? Because Rimbauld (the only famous coffee merchant apart from Antony Wild) was apparently an influence on the Doors singer. This kind of thing happens quite frequently throughout the book.

Some of the chapters could have made interesting magazine articles but as a whole, it doesn't quite work. Don't let this put you off though. If you want to learn more about coffee it's worth slogging through this book and taking from it what you can.
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on 9 January 2007
Antony Wild's (2004) book is The Good Tea and Coffee Company book of the month for January 2007.

At the outset, it claims to be a 'dark' history and it certainly doesn't disappoint in that respect.

Though sounding a little extravagant in portraying coffee as the 'forbidden fruit' in the Garden of Eden of the Old Testament, each chapter touches on sensitive ethical issues which are moving ever higher on the priority list of European consumers.

Tracing the origins of the cultivation of coffee back to the Yemen and the early attempts to create plantations elsewhere by The East India Company, we are taken on a journey of unexpected complexity as coffee finds its way into the social and religeous infrastracture of every continent it touches.

By the end of the book, we've had a lot more for our money than simply history. Antony Wild makes us look anew at something we have grown up with and almost taken for granted. He gives us the tools we need to think again about coffee - to bring it out of the darkness.. and into the light.
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on 14 January 2015
prompt, as described, excellent
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on 7 November 2009
Though the author does use various sources to support some of his claims with facts, it felt to me like a large part of the book was influenced by the authors personal opinion rather than facts.

What annoyed me a bit about the book is that some chapters take so unnessecary long. Sometimes a 15-page chapter could have been written in 1 or 2 pages, if the author would have stopped expressing his personal hypotheses. It really made it look like he had to write more words in order to fill the book - rather than having plenty of material about the history of coffee and coffee trade.

All in all, the material is interesting, but this book could have been written in less than half the pages. I'm not sure if I'd recommend the book, but it is wort having a look at.
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on 27 June 2014
Antony Wild's is recommended to anyone wanting to delve into the world of coffee. Wild's book explores how coffee has become an important traded commodity with multi-national companies, in effect, controlling price such that, in many countries producing high quality beans, farmers are not fairly rewarded for their efforts.
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on 2 July 2013
This was a perfect Christmas gift for a loved family member - and was thoroughly enjoyed by all on the day
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on 21 April 2016
An interesting look at the impact of coffee through time with a focus in the present day.
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