Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History

Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History The fascinating stories of the plants that changed civilizations Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History is a beautifully presented guide to the plants that have had the greatest impact on hum

  • Title: Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History
  • Author: Bill Laws
  • ISBN: 9781554077984
  • Page: 491
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The fascinating stories of the plants that changed civilizations Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History is a beautifully presented guide to the plants that have had the greatest impact on human civilization Entries feature a description of the plant, its botanical name, its native range and its primary functions edible, medicinal, commercial or practical.The fascinating stories of the plants that changed civilizations.Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History is a beautifully presented guide to the plants that have had the greatest impact on human civilization Entries feature a description of the plant, its botanical name, its native range and its primary functions edible, medicinal, commercial or practical Concise text is highlighted by elegant botanical drawings, paintings and photographs as well as insightful quotes.Many of the plants are well known, such as rice, tea, cotton, rubber, wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, wine grapes and corn However, there are also many whose stories are less known These history changing plants include Agave, used to make sisal, poison arrows, bullets, tequila and surgical threadPineapple, which influenced the construction of greenhouses and conservatoriesHemp, used for hangman s rope, sustainable plastics, the Declaration of Independence and Levi s jeansCoconut, used for coir fiber, soap, margarine, cream, sterile IV drips and coagulantsEucalyptus, used in mouthwash, diuretics, vitamins, honey, underwear and fire resistant uniformsSweet pea, which Gregor Mendel used in his research on genetic heredityWhite mulberry, used to make silkEnglish oak, used for fire resistant structures, dyes, leather tanning, charcoal, casks and shipsWhite willow, used in the manufacture of aspirin, cricket bats, hot air balloon baskets and coffins This attractive reference provides an innovative perspective on both botanical and human history.

    One thought on “Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History”

    1. Some odd choices, and some really odd groupings. The sweet pea really doesn't belong in this book, and it really shouldn't be paired with green peas. And I noticed some weak history: yes, Louis XVI was beheaded after the storming of the Bastille- four years later. And to say that Marie Antoinette "probably" didn't say, "Let them eat cake," is an incredible understatement, because she flat out factually didn't. If I noticed a couple of these in just a few pages, how many others are in this book t [...]

    2. With 2-6 pages devoted to each plant, it doesn't really get into much depth, and some of the choices seem very odd. For instance there's an entry on the sweet pea because Princess Diana used them in her bouquetd then it segues into the edible pea and Mendel's genetics work. Why not make the entry on the edible pea instead? Surely if any pea has changed the course of history it's that one, not the sweet pea. In general the information isn't anything you couldn't get in more depth from . And some [...]

    3. If the book was entitled "50 random facts related to plants that could be found in human history", I wouldn't be so critical, but I also may not have read the book. Rather than talk to what the title was about, how different plants changed the course of human history, it decided to focus on these cute instances in which the plants showed up in history, but didn't really have that much effect on the wider human existence. He talks about the pea, how a queen loved the pretty flowers, but failed to [...]

    4. As an avid gardener and someone with a keen interest in horticulture, the book's premise was interesting to me from the onset: learn about 50 plants that have made a major impact on humanity. Each of the plants listed has approximately 2-6 pages dedicated to it, and the book describes how the plants were first "discovered" and put to use, and how this usage has (or has not) evolved over the ages. E.g. Rubber used to be an extremely important commodity, but since the invention of synthetic rubber [...]

    5. The only other rating given to this book is 3 stars with no comment. Even if it resides exclusively in the bathroom it deserves better (the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers are consistently 4 stars).Sure there is an amount of trivia included about each plant that will allow you to sound authoritative at the water cooler or cocktail party, but Bill Laws does a fine job of giving you, not only historical significance, but also ecological significance of each. Plants are classified as to whether their [...]

    6. Absolutely loved this book. Used it to help me study for my Plants course. Great pictures, historical facts.

    7. You don't normally think of plants as changing the course of history, but they have. This book goes over fifty plants that have influenced human behavior, often in dark ways. Opium caused China's collapse, sugar cane set off the slavery trade out of Africa, tulips were responsible for an economic crash in Holland.An interesting historical look at how plants have affected human behavior over time.

    8. The concept is much better than the execution. There is a lot more trivia than evidence that these 50 plants all had a significant impact on history. Eg, in the summary that starts each article, onion “assisted with the classification of the world’s plants and helped to create the stereotypical image of the Frenchman…” In my opinion, no plant contributed to classification – that was done by botanists, and the British stereotype of Frenchmen is a trivial contribution to history, and one [...]

    9. Bill introduces these plants, covering their economic, political and industrial history. It is interesting to know those anecdotes; the Declaration of Independence is written in a marijuana paper, and some of those important politicians like Gorge Washington and Thomas Jefferson had big marijuana farms at that time and made a fortune from them; a eucalyptus has rainbow colors on its bark; an olive tree has no growth ring to find out how old it is; an oak tree need about 50 years to produce its f [...]

    10. I really enjoyed learning about everything from the history of tea to how the onion is responsible for the French stereotype that still prevails today. Plants surround us and are everywhere in our day to day lives as much as anything else, if not more! We definitely do not appreciate them enough and I think for this reason that it should be mandatory reading for everyone. I learnt so much that I didn't know before and just walking down the street and seeing common weeds, I am now able to conside [...]

    11. This was a good overview of 50 well-known plants that have had a great impact on human civilization and culture. I didn't read every one of them, but it's a great book for flipping through and finding interesting tidbits about these various plants. The amount of coverage for each plant is short and sweet.

    12. This was fun. Apparently there are a lot of theses 50 somethings that changed history. Not a lot of in depth info for a lot of the plants. I did learn some interesting stuff. Definitely left leaning bent to text. Some had a lot of historical info but others were very lean.

    13. I expected more of a narrative. This is really just 50 profiles of different plants with historical facts about each of them.

    14. Looking at the sad remains of my latest kill, a rosmary plant, I realize I’m not a plant person. Maybe that’s why I can’t fully appreciate this book. It’s only partly interesting, very chatty, and a bit patronizing in that British colonial way that I dislike so much.

    15. Despite some really lovely production values, this was not the book for me.I was hoping for something along the lines of Tom Standage's A History of the World in 6 Glasses -- a rich tapestry of beverages and societies, intelligently and engagingly written -- and ended up instead with an eclectic collection of trivia factoids for random plants. My heart started sinking when the introduction pointed out the ridiculously obvious, like how plants had a longer history than humans, and how they provid [...]

    16. Ler este livro é descortinar a motivação básica dos descaminhos da humanidade: comer. Ou falamos de comer com fome, ou falamos de comer com luxúria – ambos os modos provocaram guerras, falcatruas, biopirataria e, evidente!, lucros exorbitantes. Bill Laws, escritor e jornalista autor de mais de 15 livros curiosos – que vão desde a história das cinquenta rodovias que mais impactaram o desenvolvimento urbano até como se desenvolveu o estilo das casas em que vivemos – , escreveu este 5 [...]

    17. Um livro muito bacana que não se limita a falar dos aspectos biológicos e botânicos, mas principalmente do papel econômico, social e histórico de cada uma das plantas tratadas. Como historiador Bill Laws procura criar um contexto abrangente de como uma determinada cultura alterou muitas vezes decisivamente o destino dos povos que as cultivavam e comercializavam. Sendo uma tradução o livro muitas vezes peca por poucos detalhes sobre o impacto no Brasil, assim não temos o pau-brasil no liv [...]

    18. The facts for each of the plants were interesting and informative. Though I did find it hard to read sometimes, going back and having to re-read a section a couple of times. I believe this was because the author was also defining words in the sentence as well as trying to give you the information. By the time you got done reading what the word meant you had to go back and reread the sentence to know what it was originally saying. It reads like a text book. I will say again, that I found the info [...]

    19. I read this to my son as a bedtime book over the course of a couple of months (what can I say, he likes non-fiction.) Interesting detail and a broad history is given for each plant; some of the entries are linked due to the eras covered or the botanists involved. I'm primarily interested in dye plants, and I found those entries to barely scratch the surface of their topics, but the rest of the plants featured gave me just enough detail to find them interesting, without being wearisomely factual. [...]

    20. Do not waste your time. Please.This book was filled with information, most of which was not very pertinent to the actual plants themselves--and when it was, there wasn't enough detail in that given information to make it worth reading. There were also many instances if misinformation, assumptive history, and poorly communicated ideas. I'm just really underwhelmed and annoyed with this book as a whole. Why did I keep reading it? To finish it and review it. I was sorely disappointed by this book. [...]

    21. There are a few deficiencies, but overall this is a very good book and well worth a read. I learned many things. It is set up to be a somewhat entertaining read rather than pure science or pure history. Covering 50 plants is great, but it does limit to a few pages for any one plant, so the information is not in depth. I am surprised that plant family names were not included. The graphic design of the book is excellent.

    22. You should see my garden!!! I am SO not into gardening. In fact I tell everyone who arrives at my place that gardening and housework are for my next life, I'm too busy reading books. I asked to review this book because it looks like there are lots of great little chunks of interesting texts that I could lure unsuspecting non-readers into reading with. Have flicked through and the production values are superb!!! Looking forward to reading it.

    23. Well I like plants and I'd say this book was ok. If you don't like plants then really give it a miss.I was curious about the plants he would choose, and to a certain extent having read the book I'm still curious about the ones he chose.I would have given it a lesser rating (maybe one and a half stars) but there were a couple of snippets of interesting info.

    24. Pyysin kirjastonhoitajaa suosittelemaan historiakirjoja luettavaksi. Harmittelin, kun hänen suosituksista iso osa oli tullut jo luettua. Niinpä hyvällä pelisilmällä varustettu ammattilainen löi tämän kirjan käteeni. Teos on komeasti kuvitettu, mukavasti taitettu, viihdyttävästi kirjoitettu ja täynnä kiinnostavan erilaista tietoa kaikkien tuntemista kasveista.

    25. Some interesting stuff in here but the book is pretty dumbed down. No central thesis or guiding trajectory. I was looking for something more like Michael Polan's Botany of Desire but got something more like a collection of Reader's Digest articles. I made it through cilantro (50 pages in) and returned it to the library.

    26. Davvero molto interessante. La scelta delle 50 piante da citare è, a mio modesto avviso, corretta e soprattutto non americocentrica come ci si potrebbe aspettare.Credo sia interessante per chi non si occupa già di botanica. Per un esperto queste schede, tutto sommato brevi, non offrono chissà quale rivelazione.

    27. Not particularly well written but I learned so much, it was worth the extra star. Not a book one can just sit down and read, hence why it took me 2.5 months, but in bites it was enjoyable if sometimes a little erudite--not pleasure reading.

    28. This book was very pretty to look at. The information in it was Ok. Nothing too substantial and he often wanders a little off the topic. Being a botanist I would have liked a little more plant, but over all I liked the book. Non science people probably would not.

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