Standage for the first half of the book merely echoes the 1997 [b:Guns Germs and Steel|1842|Guns, Germs, and Steel The Fates of Human Societies|Jared Diamond|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363934734s/1842.jpg|2138852], retelling the story of plant domestication and gene exchange; the Columbian food plant exchange. although the second half picks up with an account of canning, Civil war and Napoleon's armies' foraging, by the end we're left with a 135 page book instead of a 270 page one. can't be recommended at full retail, although wouldn't be a terrible loss at remainder prices. in many ways clearly an attempt to pick up readers from the 2005 better seller [b:A History of the World in 6 Glasses|3872|A History of the World in 6 Glasses|Tom Standage|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316635592s/3872.jpg|7600]; this work is pretty forgettable.
random notes: Standage is an Oxford grad and Guardian reporter, so he's a professional writer. his cover designs focusing on letters replaced in the title by small drawings of objects is apparently a marketing hook