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The History and Social Influence of the Potato

The History and Social Influence of the Potato

2nd Edition


  • Date Published: November 1985
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521316231

£ 43.99

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About the Authors
  • First published in 1949, this remarkable book is the culmination of a life-long study of every aspect of the potato. Dr Salaman is concerned first with the history of the potato as a member of the botanical genus Solanum, its adaptation by man as a cultivated plant, and the record of its spread throughout the world; secondly he considers the influence the potato has exerted upon the social structure and economy of different peoples at different times. The archaeological and anthropological evidence for the early significance of the potato among the peoples of Latin America is discussed in detail with numerous illustrations, but the central portion of the book is concerned with the European, and particularly the Irish evidence. Naturally the Great Hunger is the most dramatic single episode in the entire work, and Dr Salaman does full justice to his tragic theme, concluding with the observation that in Ireland 'the potato ended in wrecking both exploited and exploiter'. Elegantly written, with numerous vivid anecdotes, Salaman's History has long enjoyed the status of a classic. This revised impression, with a new introduction and emendations by Professor J. G. Hawkes, enables another generation of readers to sample what Eric Hobsbawm has referred to as 'that magnificent monument of scholarship and humanity'.

    • A unique life long study of every aspect of the potato
    • This is a revised edition, with a new introduction and emendations by Professor J G Hawkes
    • Classic work, elegantly written with accurate scholarship
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'It is a work of profound and accurate scholarship, the product, over long years, of patient and careful research. Side by side with the history of the potato, its adoption by man and its spread throughout the world, is a study of the influence which it has exerted on the social structure of those people who accepted it as a staple article of diet.' Nature

    'It is a great work, in many respects a noble work, that will excite attention and arouse interest in many quarters.' The Spectator

    'His profound learning and the felicity of phrase with which he is able to express it from a combination which carries the reader avidly from page to page … Dr Salaman has written a truly monumental work.' Horticultural Abstracts

    'This book stands as the high achievement of an erudite and humane person of wide knowledge and even wider understanding.' Heredity

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: November 1985
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521316231
    • length: 768 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 46 mm
    • weight: 1.192kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction to the revised impression
    1. Immigrant man and the Andean potato
    2. The archaeological record
    3. The potato in pre-Spanish Peru
    4. The Inca period
    5. The potatoes of America and their relation to the early European varieties
    6. Early descriptions of the potato in Europe
    7. 'Vertues', vices and values
    8. Names and aliases
    9. The introduction to Europe: the Raleigh and other legends
    10. Potato varieties: past, present and future
    11. The potato in Ireland in the sixteenth century
    12. The potato in Ireland in the seventeenth century
    13. The potato in Ireland in the eighteenth century
    14. The period of Irish self-government
    15. Ireland in the nineteenth century
    16. The potato famine: its causes and consequences
    17. The potato in post-famine Ireland
    18. The potato's part in the tragedy of Ireland
    19. The potato in Scotland
    20. The potato in the highlands of Scotland
    21 The potato in the lowlands of Scotland
    22. The potato in Wales
    23. The potato of Shakespeare and the Jacobeans
    24. The seventeenth century: the first hundred years of the potato's progress in Great Britain
    25. The eighteenth century
    26. The nineteenth century and after
    27. The relation between potato and bread consumption
    28. The potato in Tristan de Cunha
    29. The potato in St Helena
    30. The potato in Jersey
    31. The industrial uses of the potato
    32. The potato in war-time
    33. The implements of production
    34. The potato in the realm of art

  • Author

    Redcliffe N. Salaman


    J. G. Hawkes, University of Birmingham

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