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This book was definitely an informative and very
detailed history of sugar production and
consumption, but, most assuredly, it would not
even rate in my top 1,000 books to read list. Let
me say first though, Mintz did an excellent job of
researching the topic for this book. But, he
seemed to concentrate most of his points on the
British, with only vague mention of the rest of
the world. Furthermore, the format he used proved
to 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 in
214. I realize that the British way of life did
have a large impact on the shaping the modern
world, but what about the rest of the world? Mintz
seems to concentrate most of the book on Britain,
with only vague references to the rest of the
world. An example being, he refers to the
Portuguese and Spanish colonies that provided
sugar, but what were their reasons for growing
sugar? What were their patterns of consumption?
His references about other countries seem, in the
most part, to be in reference to the British.

For
instance, at one point in the book he mentions
remarks made by foreigners about the blackened
teeth of the British people caused by sugar. It
just seems preposterous to think that no other
countries in the world would be worth more than a
casually reference on this subject. Secondly, the
format Mintz used leaves something to be desired.
I understand the reason he split the chapters the
way he did, but it is within each of the chapters
he started to confuse me. On numerous occasions,
he skipped around from one era to another. For
example, he would be talking about something from
the 16th century, then skip to the 18th century,
and then back to the 17th century. I can
understand that he may want to refer the reader
back to something previously stated, but he did
this in explaining information for the first time
as well.

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I feel it would have been much easier to
follow if he had arranged the chapters in some
sort of chronological order. Finally, for covering
such a small portion of the effect of sugar on the
world by mainly concentrating on the British
aspect, it seemed to take him way too long to do
it. After reading this book, one word that comes
to mind is repetitive. Mintz was constantly
restating things previously mentioned. I must have
read about how the consumption and uses of sugar
started with the rich and how the poor then
adopted those uses as well as adapting new ones
when prices declined at least six times. That is
only one example, although there were numerous
others.

In conclusion, although I feel Mintz made
some valid points in this book, I feel he could
have gone about it in a far better way. I feel the
scope of this book was too small, not taking into
account a large portion of the worlds
contributions to the expansion of sugar production
and consumption. The organization of the chapters
should have been improved dramatically. And, he
was a little long-winded in conveying his point.
All in all, although I did learn something from
this book, I found it extremely boring and hard to
read. If I were to suggest a suitable use for this
book, it would be to use it as a cure to insomnia.
Bibliography:.

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