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Dan Koeppel, Banana : The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World. New York : Hudson Street Press, 2008. xix + 281 pages; illustrated; includes bibliographical references and index.
Dan Koeppel's writing style of short chapters made this serious book easy and quick to read. He begins with a summary of the history, politics, and science of the banana as well as some interesting folklore. Evidently the Hebrew Bible refers to the banana as the fruit that Eve offered to Adam in the Garden of Eden. The term "banana republic" was coined in reference to the ownership of several Central American governments by the banana companies. Koeppel then gets more serious in the later chapters expanding on the politics and science.
His love of the subject is catchy. While reading the book, I felt that protecting the banana was the most important issue of the day and I haven't been able to forget about the awful politics played by the U.S. banana companies since I finished it. The most important point that Koeppel makes is that the type of banana we eat today, the Cavendish, is threatened by what is known as Panama Disease. Scientists are currently trying to create a new banana for us to eat. I hope they succeed soon. I need my bananas.
-- Notes by VS