Book written by Bill Laws
Margaret Ayala, Publisher of "Got Rum?" magazine, reviews "Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History" written by Bill Laws in the September 2014 issue.
Book Review by Margaret Ayala of "Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History" written by Bill Laws
There are few plants that have changed the world as much as sugarcane has, from the economic potential it represented, to the deplorable slavery it demanded in order to exploit that potential. In this book, author Bill Laws takes us on a botanical journey aimed at opening up our eyes so we can see just how much our lives have been shaped by this “sweet grass,” along with an additional 49, equally impactful, gifts from nature.
Most people can guess what some of the plants in this book are or should be, based on the prominent place they have in today’s commerce. Plants such as tobacco, cotton and rice are easy to envision in the lineup, but what I enjoyed the most was the inclusion of lesser known or “lower profile” plants such as pineapple, eucalyptus, hemp and peas.
While this is not a botanical reference book, nor does it present concise economic data as to the impact of each plant presented, the book derives its entertaining value from the richness of the anecdotal accounts and how thought-provoking they are. The book is also illustrated gorgeously, further inspiring the reader to investigate each of the plants portrayed.
Reading this book is like journeying through the world on a cruise ship, every new page being a new port-of-call, with a flavor and culture of its own.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a broader sense of how simple, oxygen-producing plants have the ability to shape our lives.
Margaret Ayala, Editor