This book was definitely an informative and verydetailed history of sugar production andconsumption, but, most assuredly, it would noteven rate in my top 1,000 books to read list. Letme say first though, Mintz did an excellent job ofresearching the topic for this book. But, heseemed to concentrate most of his points on theBritish, with only vague mention of the rest ofthe world. Furthermore, the format he used provedto be a bit confusing throughout most of the book.Finally, this book could have, very easily,conveyed the same point in 50 pages as it did in214.
I realize that the British way of life didhave a large impact on the shaping the modernworld, but what about the rest of the world? Mintzseems to concentrate most of the book on Britain,with only vague references to the rest of theworld. An example being, he refers to thePortuguese and Spanish colonies that providedsugar, but what were their reasons for growingsugar? What were their patterns of consumption?His references about other countries seem, in themost part, to be in reference to the British.Forinstance, at one point in the book he mentionsremarks made by foreigners about the blackenedteeth of the British people caused by sugar. Itjust seems preposterous to think that no othercountries in the world would be worth more than acasually reference on this subject. Secondly, theformat Mintz used leaves something to be desired.I understand the reason he split the chapters theway he did, but it is within each of the chaptershe started to confuse me. On numerous occasions,he skipped around from one era to another. Forexample, he would be talking about something fromthe 16th century, then skip to the 18th century,and then back to the 17th century.
I canunderstand that he may want to refer the readerback to something previously stated, but he didthis in explaining information for the first timeas well.I feel it would have been much easier tofollow if he had arranged the chapters in somesort of chronological order. Finally, for coveringsuch a small portion of the effect of sugar on theworld by mainly concentrating on the Britishaspect, it seemed to take him way too long to doit. After reading this book, one word that comesto mind is repetitive. Mintz was constantlyrestating things previously mentioned.
I must haveread about how the consumption and uses of sugarstarted with the rich and how the poor thenadopted those uses as well as adapting new oneswhen prices declined at least six times. That isonly one example, although there were numerousothers.In conclusion, although I feel Mintz madesome valid points in this book, I feel he couldhave gone about it in a far better way. I feel thescope of this book was too small, not taking intoaccount a large portion of the worldscontributions to the expansion of sugar productionand consumption. The organization of the chaptersshould have been improved dramatically. And, hewas a little long-winded in conveying his point.All in all, although I did learn something fromthis book, I found it extremely boring and hard toread. If I were to suggest a suitable use for thisbook, it would be to use it as a cure to insomnia.Bibliography:.