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  • Published: 1 April 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099474791
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $22.99

The Untold History of the Potato



The story of one of the world's most important food crops

From the gold potatoes at the Sun Temple in Cuzco, Peru, the muddy ones in Ireland and those grown in China for MacDonalds chips, via Mrs Beeton, Charles Darwin, Lenin and Chairman Mao, to the mapping of the potato genome, the story of the spud is both satisfying and fascinating.

John Reader follows the thread of the potato's story through the tapestry of human history, from its origins and evolution to its mysterious arrival in Europe, where it became a crucial part of gastronomic and social fabric. As global population swells and environmental sustainability becomes ever more crucial, Reader asks what role the potato still has to play - in this lively, readable study of our most humble foodstuff.

  • Published: 1 April 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099474791
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

John Reader

John Reader is an author and photojournalist. He holds an Honorary Research Fellowship in the Department of Anthropology at UCL and is a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Royal Geographic Society.

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Praise for The Untold History of the Potato

Thought-provoking...Without the potato, most of us wouldn't be here. And without the potato, we won't be going anywhere

The Guardian

Traversing imperialism, politics, technology and diet, Reader's elegantly written, discursive book weaves the progress of centuries and continents together in the story of the potato's ascendancy

Daily Telegraph

This accessible account embraces the latest scholarship and addresses the failings of previous works on the subject. Indeed the book, like the tuber it describes, fills a void: the spud now has the biography it deserves

Economist

The most nourishing book of the month

Guardian

Superb

Sunday Times

Each chapter is discrete in content and manner, yet densely connected to the rest. Wonderful: to understand the whole world through a single crisp

Guardian

John Reader's excellent history...his style has a playful sobriety and a laudable disdain for cliché (he gets an extra star for never once using the term 'the humble spud

Time Out

This enjoyably meandering history...

The New Yorker

As a staple of the global diet the potato is worth this digestible book devoted to its biology, history and social influence.

Times

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