Commodity Histories that didn't suck, Part 1:
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Oyster, Mark Kurlansky
Salt, Mark Kurlansky
The Cultural History of Vanilla, Patricia Rain
Consider the Eel, Richard Schweid
The True History of Chocolate, Coe
Opium: a history, Martin Booth
Diamond: A Journey to the Heart of an Obsession, by Matthew Hart
The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan
The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
Got any recommendations for me?!
Caviar: The Strange History and Uncertain Future of the World's Most Coveted Delicacy
Woman, an Intimate Geography
The Beauty of the Beastly
Book could be fun. I have so many commodity histories (never had a name for this specific genre until I found this group) waiting to be read so will pass on the oysters.
I've got a half dozen or so books on water, but those are more political than historic. Once I read A History of the World in 6 Glasses I may be able to make a case for that being a commodity/micro history.
I'm reading When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech for Better and/or Worse by Ben Yagoda. Not sure if this qualifies as a commodity or micro-history? But thought it similar enough that some members may like it.
So, now it's August 6th and I finished Banana yesterday (or the day before?) I reallly enjoyed it...politics, murder, science, even selling the banana sliced and wrapped in foil in deference to the sensitivities of Victorian women over the shape of the fruit! Great stuff.
Part II: And now, I've finished it. I really enjoyed this one and learned a lot about pigeons. One of the most interesting chapters was on mating and reproduction. Pigeons actually "date" for a few days before mating. And now I know why we never see baby pigeons.
Another history of salt which I liked more that Salt mentioned in >55 fannyprice: and >56 GoofyOcean110: is Neptune's Gift by Multhauf and then there is Mauve the history of the development of aniline dye which I thought was a very good read.
These may be playing a bit fast and loose with the idea of a commodity but they are histories of things that are exceedingly common. Revolution in Time by Landes, a history of the development of the clock, The Mirror and Man by Goldberg which is a history of the development of the mirror and its impact on society..and for some reason Touchstone can't find this work. The last - a tad more grim than the others is The Gun that Made the Twenties Roar by Helmer is a history of the development of the Thompson Submachine Gun (he called his first attempt "the trench broom") and its impact on society.