Read Bananas: An American History by Virginia Scott Jenkins Online

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Before 1880 most Americans had never seen a banana. By 1910 bananas were so common that streets were littered with their peels. Today Americans eat on average nearly seventy-five per year. More than a staple of the American diet, bananas have gained a secure place in the nation's culture and folklore. They have been recommended as the secret to longevity, the perfect foodBefore 1880 most Americans had never seen a banana. By 1910 bananas were so common that streets were littered with their peels. Today Americans eat on average nearly seventy-five per year. More than a staple of the American diet, bananas have gained a secure place in the nation's culture and folklore. They have been recommended as the secret to longevity, the perfect food for infants, and the cure for warts, headaches, and stage fright. Essential to the cereal bowl and the pratfall, they remain a mainstay of jokes, songs, and wordplay even after a century of rapid change.Covering every aspect of the banana in American culture, from its beginnings as luxury food to its reputation in the 1910s as the “poor man's” fruit to its role today as a healthy, easy-to-carry snack, Bananas provides an insightful look at a fruit with appeal....

Title : Bananas: An American History
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781560989660
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 210 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bananas: An American History Reviews

  • Alex
    2018-08-02 02:43

    There's a part of me that feels as though 2 stars is generous for this.Bananas are ubiquitous in American life to the point of banality, but their history is one of intrigue, political machinations, racism and exploitation... it's a subject which is interesting because it's a history that is forgotten, because it feels like an absurd topic but comes with a long story. In this book, that all gets lost.It's not the information which is lacking, per se. The real killer on this book is the writing. At under 200 pages this should be a pretty easy read, especially with images and ad copy presented along with the text, and yet, here I am completing it 3 and a half months later. The problem is simple: it reads like a highschooler's term paper. Instead of a narrative, we get a collection of facts. Instead of flow, we have information repeated across chapters as though the writer forgot they mentioned it before. Any bigger picture to bananas is lost in what feels like a rush to put every bit of information the author gleaned down on paper, without trying to expand that knowledge.The worst is when the content is wholly irrelevant. On p. 111, in a chapter on eating bananas, the author, in discussing an article written on bananas, then notes "recipes were given for banana croquettes (served hot with any kind of roast meat), banana fritters, baked bananas, banana pudding, banana-and-nut mold, spiced bananas, and fried bananas." The chapter is full of these passages, often discussing a pamphlet, article, or book discussing the cooking of bananas, frequently excerpting, then listing what feels like a complete compliment of banana recipes. In the final chapter, discussing bananas in humor, we get the following on page 153: "Recently a child asked her piano teacher, 'Why is a banana peel like music? If you don't C sharp, you'll B flat.'" Besides being arguably devoid of humor, it's moreover devoid of context or relevance. Positioned as some sort of evidence of banana peel jokes circulating in modern times, we know nothing of from where this joke comes. A student allegedly tells what is a deeply outdated joke. Is it a friend's child? Did the author know the teacher? Was this a bad Reader's Digest joke presented as fact? It's unsourced and anecdotal, and speaks to our author's M.O.: list some banana jokes as if that is research. She similarly, shortly after, mentions the song "The Name Game," without explaining what it has to do with bananas, presuming everyone simply knows it (banana-fanna-fo-fail), and on the next page decides that banana jokes are out of fashion after hearing none of them during a 2 hour Garrison Keillor broadcast, stunning not only in the lack of research put into the conclusion, but the lack of research put into Garrison's last name, which she spells "Keeler."The book is not without its bright moments, of course: all research turns up interesting bits. In the hands of this author, however, the interesting falls by the wayside. Fans of history and ephemera both would be poorly served here.

  • Juan
    2018-08-07 22:43

    Bananas: An American History” is a nonfiction book by Virginia Scott Jenkins, and it talks about the American history of bananas. The book starts off with how bananas first got to America, how they were first treated and how people reacted to them. They were once known as a luxury fruit, but soon turned into the most consumed fruit in the U.S. Then the book starts to talk about bananas in popular culture, it shows some banana songs, banana books, and banana movies. I found this part of the book very interesting and humorous. This book basically tells you everything you need to know about bananas, which is why I didn’t like it. This book was a textbook. It just gives you information and stories of how that information was discovered. Some parts of the book were okay, and actually enjoyable to read, but the book as a whole was not. Unless you really like and care about bananas, you will most likely not enjoy this book. But there were some parts I did like about his book. First of all, I really enjoyed one of the stories in the book, it was about 3 boys and a banana. The main gist of the story was that 3 boys had one banana, and they all wanted to eat it, so they split it in half and gave a piece to each other, but then a dog comes and eats one of the pieces, so the boys split the 2 pieces they have again, but one of them has to get 2 pieces instead of one. I just found this story really funny and interesting. Another thing I liked about this book was the banana songs, they were all from the 50’s and 60’s but they were really addicting. Those are the things I liked about this story, which is not a lot for a book with more than 100 pages. My final thoughts are that I didn’t like this book and do not recommend it. Unless of course you have a really big obsession with bananas.

  • Daniel
    2018-08-09 00:54

    I enjoyed reading about the history of how banana's came to the united stated. I have never thought about the history of how banana's got to the united states before.

  • Tom
    2018-07-23 03:59

    This book was fairly interesting, but wasn't written in a terribly interesting manner. It seemed quite well researched, but more just a scattered listing of various factotums (factota?) than a coherent book.Still it was much better than the other banana book I read,Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World. I keep on thinking how bananas are related to geopolitics, agribusiness, transportation, and so many other aspects of modern living. It seems like books on the subject should be better. Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to craft my own banana epic.

  • Lauren
    2018-08-04 20:45

    Watch as a rich and compelling history is turned into a snooze fest!If this book consisted of the first three chapters alone, it would be 3 or 4 star material. It is evident that much more research and time went into piecing those chapters together. So, is the writer or the editor at fault? Maybe both. The author seriously spent an entire chapter on the dangers of banana-peel slipping on urban sidewalks. If she had painted it in a larger context, or if the writing had been better, she (maybe) could have pulled it off. The writing style is encyclopaedic, but if you are looking for facts, you will find them; however, if you are looking for something a little higher on the "interestingness" scale, there are probably better options.

  • Kevin
    2018-08-17 21:12

    Imagine a entire book about bananas. When I picked this book up and read the back, I was hooked. I never thought about how bananas (being a tropical fruit) are so ubiquitous, cheap, and constantly available in the US where no bananas can be grown. Also how ingrained bananas are to our culture such as the idea of slipping on a peal. This book follows the history of bananas in America. It has some very interesting information and stories included. Unfortunately the book is very dry and reads more like a text book than a story. I have to think that there are better books on this topic. Overall it was interesting but was far from amazing.

  • Michael
    2018-08-01 01:51

    I like the idea of this book far more than the reality. A fine story could have been weaved with these interesting details but instead you get a second-rate undergraduate thesis in book form. Books like this give history a bad name.

  • Marc
    2018-08-11 02:12

    Knock-knock. Who's there? Boring, banana banality.

  • Kristina Gibson
    2018-07-27 21:12

    Some interesting facts, but it doesn't really get into the history of the fruit companies and their impact on Central America.

  • Alli
    2018-07-25 21:59

    More than I needed to know, but since I eat them so much I figure it's worth it.