Sugar

The World Corrupted: From Slavery to Obesity
Narrated by: Roger Davis
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The modern successor to Sweetness and Power, James Walvin's Sugar is a rich and engaging work on a topic that continues to change our world.

How did a simple commodity, once the prized monopoly of kings and princes, become an essential ingredient in the lives of millions, before mutating yet again into the cause of a global health epidemic?

Prior to 1600, sugar was a costly luxury, the domain of the rich. But with the rise of the sugar colonies in the New World over the following century, sugar became cheap, ubiquitous, and an everyday necessity. Less than 50 years ago, few people suggested that sugar posed a global health problem. And yet today, sugar is regularly denounced as a dangerous addiction, on a par with tobacco. While sugar consumption remains higher than ever - in some countries as high as 100 lbs. per head per year - some advertisements even proudly proclaim that their product contains no sugar.

How did sugar grow from prize to pariah? Acclaimed historian James Walvin looks at the history of our collective sweet tooth, beginning with the sugar grown by enslaved people who had been uprooted and shipped vast distances to undertake the grueling labor on plantations. The combination of sugar and slavery would transform the tastes of the Western world.

Masterfully insightful and probing, James Walvin reveals the relationship between society and sweetness over the past two centuries - and how it explains our conflicted relationship with sugar today.

©2018 James Walvin (P)2018 Random House Audio

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I should have listened to the other reviews

Many years ago I read William Dufty's fascinating book Sugar Blues, and loved it...in fact, it changed our family's life for the better. So I was intrigued by this book and wanted to see what it was like. The reviews said that it was tedious and repetitive, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

I should have listened. I don't know whether this book was never edited at all, or whether the editor was utterly incompetent, but after about 2 hours I couldn't take it anymore. All this guy does is repeat himself, circle back and restate things, and just when you think he'll move on, he'll say the same thing all over again. Add this to the fact that he doesn't seem to be able to focus on much more than three topics: sugar's role in slavery, sugar's role in the stratification of society, and sugar's effect on health, mostly teeth...and you just can't stay focused at all. All of these are important topics worth knowing about, but the amount of content in this book could have been condensed into about 30 minutes.

Editing. There's a reason why it exists. Never publish a book without it.

7 people found this helpful

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Informative and well read....

Enjoyed the book throughout. The history of sugar plantations was very helpful in adding yet more knowledge of slavery in the western hemisphere as well as it's value to even present day capitalism. Worth listening to and will most likely relisten just for betterment.

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Having Trouble Losing Weight?

Sugar by James Walvin will explain the forces tending to make us gain weight and by understanding what's happening will help people to lose weight.