In the vein of Mark Kurlansky's bestselling Salt and Cod, a gripping chronicle of the myth, mystery, and uncertain fate of the world’s most popular fruit
In this fascinating and surprising exploration of the banana’s history, cultural significance, and endangered future, award-winning journalist Dan Koeppel gives readers plenty of food for thought. Fast-paced and highly entertaining, Banana takes us from jungle to supermarket, from corporate boardrooms to kitchen tables around the world. We begin in the Garden of Eden—examining scholars’ belief that Eve’s “apple” was actually a banana— and travel to early-twentieth-century Central America, where aptly named “banana republics” rose and fell over the crop, while the companies now known as Chiquita and Dole conquered the marketplace. Koeppel then chronicles the banana’s path to the present, ultimately—and most alarmingly—taking us to banana plantations across the globe that are being destroyed by a fast-moving blight, with no cure in sight—and 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.
About the Author
Dan Koeppel, a 2011 James Beard Award winner, is a science and nature writer who has written for National Geographic, Outside, Scientific American, Wired, and other national publications. He has discussed bananas on NPR’s Fresh Air and Science Friday.
“Required reading.”—New York Post
“Ambitious in scope… both fascinating and disturbing... I’ll never walk through the produce aisle the same way again… [Banana] is at once a political and economic treatise, a scientific explication, and a cultural history.”—The Boston Globe
“Clear, engaging… admirable… part historical narrative and part pop-science adventure.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A fascinating and surprising history of our most ubiquitous fruit.”—Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Monkey Girl and Mississippi Mad “The history of oil has nothing on that of the yellow fruit.”—Salon.com