And this is a shame, really, for its quotidian details as much as major events that shape our lives. It turns out that bananas have a fascinating back story. What a disappointment, then, that this book falls short of doing it justice. Now I know that weaving back and forth between several narrative threads is de rigueur these days, but Koeppel goes to extremes. The page central story is broken up into thirty-six chapters, some a mere three pages long. The result is an overly choppy, jittery narrative with capricious sequencing.

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BookBrowse Like your fruit locally grown? Enjoy variety? Prefer non-GMO food? Like bananas? The banana you eat is likely from Ecuador and identical to every other banana of its species. Modified oft in the past, banana growers are now trying to save it from extinction-threatening disease - by genetic modification. All that and far more are in Banana by Dan Koeppel Maybe it started in Eden, where the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil might have been a banana.

Musa sapentium, the botanist Linnaeus named it —the "wise fruit". Today, the banana is here and we love it. More than apples and oranges to which, yes, we can compare bananas. We love bananas! But although the banana is for everyone, the whole book may not be. Starting in Eden, Koeppel devotes the first fourth of the book to the science and spread of the non-commercial banana.

This is fascinating — ripe, if you will — with wars and revolutions, history and literature, business and politics, and enough colorful characters and events for a half-dozen movies. We see the birth of the United Fruit Company, now better known as Chiquita, and the rise of its major competitor, Dole.

We hear of wars and rumors of war, fomented — planted — by the same banana companies and abetted — cultivated — by the U. The last quarter of the book goes toward today, where the banana is threatened by disease while growers and scientists seek a cure. For me the slowest slog was the science, not for its poor quality but because I wanted to get to the history. A second quibble is the small chapters, some as few as three pages and none longer than 10, which present stories more like a magazine would.

Indeed, the book began as magazine material: one article the author read and at least one that he wrote. Even that, though, makes the book easily digestible, although I prefer books that weave together less discernibly. This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today. New York Post Koeppel travels the globe to investigate, winding up with a surprisingly compelling read about the history, science, politics and future of the banana. Kirkus Reviews The author crams an awful lot of information into brief chapters, but his evident interest in the subject will keep readers engaged.

A lively, well-modulated survey. The hope of developing new strains that can feed the starving world. Also a look back at the companies that caused wars and government Read More.


Banana, by Dan Koeppel

A surprisingly compelling read about the history, science, politics and future of the banana Like your fruit locally grown? Enjoy variety? Prefer non-GMO food? Like bananas?


Dan Koeppel


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