• Banana

  • The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
  • By: Dan Koeppel
  • Narrated by: Paul Woodson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

To most people a banana is a banana: a simple yellow fruit. Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. In others parts of the world, bananas are what keep millions of people alive. But for all its ubiquity, the banana is surprisingly mysterious; nobody knows how bananas evolved or exactly where they originated. Rich cultural lore surrounds the fruit: In ancient translations of the Bible, the "apple" consumed by Eve is actually a banana.

But the biggest mystery about the banana today is whether it will survive. A seedless fruit with a unique reproductive system, every banana is a genetic duplicate of the next and therefore susceptible to the same blights. Today's yellow banana, the Cavendish, is increasingly threatened by such a blight, and there's no cure in sight.

Banana combines a pop-science journey around the globe, a fascinating tale of an iconic American business enterprise, and a look into the alternately tragic and hilarious banana subculture (one does exist) - ultimately taking us to the high-tech labs where new bananas are literally being built in test tubes, in a race to save the world's most beloved fruit.

©2008 Dan Koeppel (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about Banana

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very Good Book - History, Science, and Economics

The narrator is good and the book is good, very solid and interesting read

From neolithic Kuk Swamp bananas to state-of-the-art GMO bananas, this book covers thousands of years of development of a fruit.

Bananas have a business, history, scientific, economic, and political history. This makes the story of bananas a fascinating to read.

You also great detail and understanding of the challenges to growing and managing the bananas industry. The business is not simple, not cheap, and very politically complicated.

4 people found this helpful

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Read for an assignment

I read this as an alternative assignment for class. I enjoyed it. The author talks about the economic and political influences the banana has had in various countries over the centuries. As well as discusses the genetic modifications and biotechnology scientists have used to help the banana fight against diseases and fungi.

3 people found this helpful

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Boring, Reoetitive

I just don’t think there is enough material in the world of bananas to fill a book.

Yes, it is the 4th most valuable crop in the world, and yes, the Cavendish, by far the most common banana, is in trouble, but the author keeps bringing the same stuff up again and again.

Got about half-way through, and gave up. I almost never give-up on a book. Similar books, micro-histories like ‘The Book on the Bookshelf’, the history of the bookshelf, is fabulous, and the book (title scapes me) On the history of the screwdriver, is a page turner by comparison. ‘The Perfectionistsk the history of Precision, is great. Bananas, not so much.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

A story that laments Euro-centrism is Euro-centric

The story laments several times about silenced voices of the banana laborers but makes no efforts to uncover the stories of these banana workers. It makes no mention of the Chinese or African laborers from the Caribbean who moved to Central America and often died for the banana industry. Rather, it mentions American prisoners and Italians who ran away from the work.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating!

Fabulously interesting and a great narrator! I will never look at a banana the same!

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very educational

lovd the book and narrator. I learned alot. this book really was researched well.