Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids


E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
Spice

Spice

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - Spice

Written by Jack TurnerAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jack Turner

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 384 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: August 9, 2005
  • Price: $17.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-70705-6 (0-375-70705-0)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

A brilliant, original history of the spice trade—and the appetites that fueled it.

It was in search of the fabled Spice Islands and their cloves that Magellan charted the first circumnavigation of the globe. Vasco da Gama sailed the dangerous waters around Africa to India on a quest for Christians—and spices. Columbus sought gold and pepper but found the New World. By the time these fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorers set sail, the aromas of these savory, seductive seeds and powders had tempted the palates and imaginations of Europe for centuries.

Spice: The History of a Temptation is a history of the spice trade told not in the conventional narrative of politics and economics, nor of conquest and colonization, but through the intimate human impulses that inspired and drove it. Here is an exploration of the centuries-old desire for spice in food, in medicine, in magic, in religion, and in sex—and of the allure of forbidden fruit lingering in the scents of cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mace, and clove.

We follow spices back through time, through history, myth, archaeology, and literature. We see spices in all their diversity, lauded as love potions and aphrodisiacs, as panaceas and defenses against the plague. We journey from religious rituals in which spices were employed to dispel demons and summon gods to prodigies of gluttony both fantastical and real. We see spices as a luxury for a medieval king’s ostentation, as a mummy’s deodorant, as the last word in haute cuisine.

Through examining the temptations of spice we follow in the trails of the spice seekers leading from the deserts of ancient Syria to thrill-seekers on the Internet. We discover how spice became one of the first and most enduring links between Asia and Europe. We see in the pepper we use so casually the relic of a tradition linking us to the appetites of Rome, Elizabethan England, and the pharaohs. And we capture the pleasure of spice not only at the table but in every part of life.

Spice is a delight to be savored.


Spice is an erudite and engaging account of how foodstuffs can change the flow of history.” —New York Times Book Review

“Jack Turner handles his subject with discernment and confidence, his style appropriately brisk and animated. . . . Impressive and reassuring is his combination of sympathetic understanding and tough-minded rationalism. Although he never condescends to the past, neither does he ever blur the line that separates fascinating lore from the objective truths of science.” —Los Angeles Times

“A nifty grab bag of a book. Entertaining and informative.” —San Jose Mercury News

“A hugely enjoyable book, written with erudition, style and wit.” New Scientist

Spice is deliciously rich in odors, savors, and stories. Jack Turner quickens history with almost bardic magic, pouring his personality into his narrative without sacrifice of scholarship.” —Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

“Based on research that is broad and deep, Turner succeeds remarkably well in capturing the evanescent attractions of spice.” —Orlando Sentinel

“Stimulating. . . . Spice is stuffed with memorable detailsÉTurner writes with pace and intelligence.” –New Statesman

“Jack Turner possesses the two ingredients most essential for the great historian—scholarly detachment allied to a passionate obsession with his subject. He also writes uncommonly well. A splendid book.” —Philip Ziegler

“Turner’s banquet. . . is, as he admits, a ramble, but it is a fascinating one—urbane, anecdotal and easily digestible.” —Scotsman

“Sumptuous...Turner quotes well and widely from literature, and has a flair for anecdote.” The Guardian

“Turner brings serious scholarship to bear on his subject, quoting from all manner of obscure texts in ancient languages. But his gentle, ironic wit makes him a light-hearted companion. . . . The book shimmers with life, with real people springing from every page, some of them millennia old. . . . Turner’s enthusiasm carries it all forward with terrific momentum.” —The Tablet

“A fascinating and scholarly book that can help you improve both your cooking and your sex life. An excellent piece of work.” —Peter Mayle