Sample
  • Coffeeland

  • One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug
  • By: Augustine Sedgewick
  • Narrated by: Jason Culp
  • Length: 14 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (123 ratings)

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Coffeeland  By  cover art

Coffeeland

By: Augustine Sedgewick
Narrated by: Jason Culp
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Publisher's summary

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

“Extremely wide-ranging and well researched . . . In a tradition of protest literature rooted more in William Blake than in Marx.”—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

The epic story of how coffee connected and divided the modern world

Coffee is an indispensable part of daily life for billions of people around the world. But few coffee drinkers know this story. It centers on the volcanic highlands of El Salvador, where James Hill, born in the slums of Manchester, England, founded one of the world’s great coffee dynasties at the turn of the twentieth century. Adapting the innovations of the Industrial Revolution to plantation agriculture, Hill helped turn El Salvador into perhaps the most intensive monoculture in modern history—a place of extraordinary productivity, inequality, and violence. In the process, both El Salvador and the United States earned the nickname “Coffeeland,” but for starkly different reasons, and with consequences that reach into the present.

Provoking a reconsideration of what it means to be connected to faraway people and places, Coffeeland tells the hidden and surprising story of one of the most valuable commodities in the history of global capitalism.

©2020 Augustine Sedgewick (P)2020 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

“[A] beautifully written, engaging and sprawling portrait of how coffee made modern El Salvador, while it also helped to remake consumer habits worldwide.”—Lizabeth Cohen, New York Times Book Review

“Throughly engrossing . . . [Sedgewick's] literary gifts and prodigious research make for a deeply satisfying reading experience studded with narrative surprise.”Michael Pollan, bestselling author of This is Your Mind on Plants

“Extremely wide-ranging and well researched, Sedgewick’s story reaches out into American political history, not to mention the history of American breakfast, but it is mostly set in El Salvador, where a large-scale monoculture of coffee began, at the turn of the twentieth century, under the fiendishly brilliant direction of a British expat named James Hill [. . .] The originality and ambition of Sedgewick’s work is that he insistently sees the dynamic between producer and consumer—Central American peasant and North American proletarian—not merely as one of exploited and exploiter but as a manufactured co-dependence between two groups both exploited by capitalism.”—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

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