Worth Reading

How I’m only just discovering this 12 year-old-book, I do not know, but it is fascinating.

Manning, Richard, Against the Grain — How Agriculture has Hijacked Civilization, North Point Press, New York, 2004.

Manning argues, very convincingly, that all the major forces that have shaped our world—disease, imperialism, colonialism, slavery, trade, wealth—are all directly related to agriculture. He details the beginnings of agriculture in the middle east and it’s spread through conquest of peoples and lands. He describes how this expansion led to overpopulation, famine, and disease in all major population centers.

Spoiler alter: Domestication of wheat was humankind’s greatest mistake.

This book appears well research and is very readable, though poorly titled. I think a better title would be How Grain Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization.


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