Elizabeth Abbott's new book Sugar: A Bittersweet History is reviewed by Issac Chotliner in this Sunday's (July 11) New York Times Book Review: "The most dispiriting aspect of our belated environmental consciousness is the realization that many of the delightful substances we put into our mouths - like cold bottled water and inported produce - have costs that far outweigh the immediate gratification they deliver. In Sugar, her thorough, workmanlike new study Elizabeth Abbott reminds us that this has been true for centuries."
Sugar: A Bittersweet History is a compelling and surprising look at the sweet commodity, from how it Africanized the cane fields of the Caribbean to how it fueled the Industrial Revolution and jump-started the fast-food revolution. The book explores the hidden stories behind this sweet product, revealing how powerful American interests deposed Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii, how Hitler tried to ensure a steady supply of beet sugar when enemies threatened to cut off Germany’s supply of overseas cane sugar, and how South Africa established a domestic ethanol industry in the wake of anti-apartheid sugar embargoes. The book follows the history of sugar to the present day, showing how sugar made eating on the run socially acceptable and played an integral role in today’s fast food culture and obesity epidemic. Impressively researched and commandingly written, Sugar will forever change perceptions of this sweet treat.