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Coffee: A Dark History

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Over thirty thousand copies sold worldwide, translated into Japanese, Chinese, Turkish and French. This foreword to this new 2013 eBook edition gives the full background to Wild's inadvertent creation of the kopi luwak industry in 1991, his involvement in the BBC undercover investigation into the trade, and the "Kopi Luwak: Cut the Crap!" he has founded to get it banned.

"…with a dry wit and an admirable muckraking spirit, Wild more than does justice to a story rife with injustices." Newsday. 
"He writes with (a) wry touch that makes his book a pleasure." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Antony Wild's "Coffee" is as rich and complex as the brew itself." Carlo Wolff, Boston Globe
"....this polemical, grandiose, yet thoroughly entertaining book…" Mother Jones
"…Coffee is an elegantly written, even witty book, so wide in scope, so rich in detail, so thought-provoking in the subtle way that it develops its central thesis, that it is a challenge to do justice to it." Joanna Blythman, The Sunday Herald
"…full of fascinating anecdotal detail about our favourite stimulant." The Ecologist 
"…a strong espresso of a thoroughly-researched, hugely informative history of the dark side of coffee…" Geographical 
"This masterful and exhaustive work is about much more than history. We're also treated to eye-opening lessons in economics, ethics, culture and science…" Jennifer Cunningham, The Herald 

Arguably the most valuable legally traded commodity after oil, coffee's dark five-hundred-year history links alchemy and anthropology, poetry and politics, and science and slavery. Revolutions have been hatched in coffee houses, secret societies and commercial alliances formed, and politics and art endlessly debated. 

With over a hundred million people looking to it for their livelihood, the coffee industry is now the world's largest and the financial lifeblood of many third-world countries. But with world prices notoriously volatile, the future is always uncertain. In this thought-provoking expose, Antony Wild, coffee trader, novelist and historian, explores coffee's dismal colonial past and its perilous corporate present, revealing the shocking exploitation as the heart of the industry.

From Publishers Weekly

May 02, 2005 – While coffee historian Wild brings enthusiasm to this tome on the 500-year history of the caffeinated bean, it doesn't match the simple passion with which coffee lovers enjoy their morning java. (In fairness to the author, how could it?) Wild (The East India Company) traces the bean as it makes its way from Africa to the Middle East (it was once known as the "wine of Araby") to the West, and the rise in cafe culture across Europe and eventually the New World, where, thanks to the Boston Tea Party, coffee surpassed tea as the patriotic drink of choice for a fledging nation. But Wild repeatedly reminds readers that for all the pleasure a cup of coffee brings to its drinker, the history of this beguiling brew is indeed dark. As long as there has been coffee, Wild asserts, there have been colonial powers and now corporations to exploit the workers that grow it. While this is a fascinating story that combines history with anthropology, too often the writing is buried under the heartless statistics of economic formulations. However, the work does provide caffeine junkies with intriguing reading material next time they find themselves waiting in line to order their grande vanilla latte. Illus.

Customer Reviews

Excellent book

One of the most influential and informing books I've ever read. Smooth prose, intriguing narrative, and just enough fact to believe the mysteries!

The only drawback is its European sensibilities lead to a LOT of focus on Napoleon and St. Helena, both play marginal roles in coffee and central roles in the book.

I read to learn about coffee in general. My mind became open to the issues of fair trade, neo-colonialism, militarism, genetic modification, sustainable agriculture, species conservation, religious tolerance and innumerable other issues which coffee has forwarded to include human rights and liberation.

Quite simply an amazing book.

Coffee: A Dark History
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: World
  • Published: Sep 13, 2012
  • Publisher: Wild Books
  • Seller: Matthew Horner
  • Print Length: 194 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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