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The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History

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As seen on PBS's American Spring LIVE, the award-winning author of Buzz and Feathers presents a natural and human history of seeds, the marvels of the plant kingdom. "The genius of Hanson's fascinating, inspiring, and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves." -- Mark Kurlansky, Ne As seen on PBS's American Spring LIVE, the award-winning author of Buzz and Feathers presents a natural and human history of seeds, the marvels of the plant kingdom. "The genius of Hanson's fascinating, inspiring, and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves." -- Mark Kurlansky, New York Times Book Review We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life: supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and pepper drove the Age of Discovery, coffee beans fueled the Enlightenment and cottonseed sparked the Industrial Revolution. Seeds are fundamental objects of beauty, evolutionary wonders, and simple fascinations. Yet, despite their importance, seeds are often seen as commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more. This is a book of knowledge, adventure, and wonder, spun by an award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field biologist. A fascinating scientific adventure, it is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow.


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As seen on PBS's American Spring LIVE, the award-winning author of Buzz and Feathers presents a natural and human history of seeds, the marvels of the plant kingdom. "The genius of Hanson's fascinating, inspiring, and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves." -- Mark Kurlansky, Ne As seen on PBS's American Spring LIVE, the award-winning author of Buzz and Feathers presents a natural and human history of seeds, the marvels of the plant kingdom. "The genius of Hanson's fascinating, inspiring, and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves." -- Mark Kurlansky, New York Times Book Review We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life: supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and pepper drove the Age of Discovery, coffee beans fueled the Enlightenment and cottonseed sparked the Industrial Revolution. Seeds are fundamental objects of beauty, evolutionary wonders, and simple fascinations. Yet, despite their importance, seeds are often seen as commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more. This is a book of knowledge, adventure, and wonder, spun by an award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field biologist. A fascinating scientific adventure, it is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow.

30 review for The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    My wife often makes fun of me when she sees the titles of books I read. Such was the case with this book. And, in her defense, a younger version of me would have rather stabbed himself in the neck rather than pick up a book with this title. But, good gravy, this was one of the most fascinating books I've read in a long time. The author not only conveyed his admiration of seeds but told a story so compelling that I now share that admiration. I'm a fan of both the author and the subject.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is a nice overview of the importance of seeds throughout history and around the world. The best part about this book is that it never gets too bogged down in scientific lingo- thus someone (like me) with very little knowledge on seeds can not only understand everything the author is saying, but also really enjoy it. The book is also set up in a way that if you wanted, you could read the book out of order or just read the sections that appeal to you- the chapter on coffee for instance, if yo This is a nice overview of the importance of seeds throughout history and around the world. The best part about this book is that it never gets too bogged down in scientific lingo- thus someone (like me) with very little knowledge on seeds can not only understand everything the author is saying, but also really enjoy it. The book is also set up in a way that if you wanted, you could read the book out of order or just read the sections that appeal to you- the chapter on coffee for instance, if you love coffee. As a lover of all things spicy, my favorite chapter was the one focused on capsicum peppers. I had no idea that so many varieties of pepper all originated from the same region. It was fascinating to read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Megz

    I love micro-histories – books that delve into the history and specifics of one small specific thing. One of my favourites is The Big Necessity by Rose George, about human waste (and the toilet). Just for balance, my least favourite is Stiff by Mary Roach. The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson is about, well: seeds. I requested the book because the cover looked pretty cool and because, as I already sai I love micro-histories – books that delve into the history and specifics of one small specific thing. One of my favourites is The Big Necessity by Rose George, about human waste (and the toilet). Just for balance, my least favourite is Stiff by Mary Roach. The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson is about, well: seeds. I requested the book because the cover looked pretty cool and because, as I already said, I enjoy finding out really random and extensive things about one focused object. In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental—objects of beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple, marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can send a dandelion’s feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Hanson has a fabulous relationship with his subject. He speaks of them in the same breath as his family, and he writes fondly about them. He exalts their qualities: seeds nourish, they unite, they endure, they defend and they travel. His sense of humour is rather enjoyable. For example, when he compares the reproduction of seed-bearing plants to that of spore-bearing plants, he writes, When spore plants have sex, they usually do it in dark, wet places, and quite often with themselves. Most enjoyable is the placement of seeds we know – or their products. Coffee beans, cocoa, chilies, ricin, coumarin – the latter both derived in one way or another from seeds, believe it or not – become altogether relatable. He interweaves their histories with human histories: wars, assassinations, economic booms and collapses. Things I loved learning: how climate influences the heat of chilies how caffeine influences the growth of the coffee plant and its competitors how coumarin was developed the evolutionary impetus for the development of fruits Of course, this book has a big dose of science as well. And I liked the way Hanson elaborates on his science. He does not dumb it down so much that the reader feels patronized, but he does not fill it to the brim with hard-to-understand jargon, either. So basically, Thor Hanson has written a pretty awesome micro-history of seeds, and I loved it. It didn’t read fast, but it sure read well, and I fully intend to get a physical copy of my own. Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Excellent in tone and in open-mindedness. Superlative in scientific description! This first half might be more depth into plant and seed evolution than the common reader for fauna might respond to/with- but oh yes, stick with it. There is much more beyond the coal fields' evidence in this wonderful mix of reality and uses for that "a baby in a box with a lunch" that is a seed. The chapters on seed shell thickness, their parallels to seed eaters and the flesh eaters who eat the seed eaters- all of Excellent in tone and in open-mindedness. Superlative in scientific description! This first half might be more depth into plant and seed evolution than the common reader for fauna might respond to/with- but oh yes, stick with it. There is much more beyond the coal fields' evidence in this wonderful mix of reality and uses for that "a baby in a box with a lunch" that is a seed. The chapters on seed shell thickness, their parallels to seed eaters and the flesh eaters who eat the seed eaters- all of the types. Just marvelous! I especially enjoyed the tale of the chilies and capsaicin. Thank you, fungi! Without you, capsaicin would not have arrived. Columbus searching for his spicy seeds and always finding the "wrong" kind. Seeds as fliers. Seeds as poisons. Seeds as inventive changing miracles! And of course the studies with the almendro that intrigue. That baby sure has a lunch. Thor Hanson has written one worth reading. I especially love some of his own asides to knowing the "truth" and all we don't know. Highly rec this one before spring planting.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    A really enjoyable and educational microhistory about seeds that I picked up at the library based on the cover. I'm glad I did! The author did an excellent job of presenting scientific information in ways that are enriching and educational. The science is there, but a PhD is not necessary to parse through it. Nor is it dumbed down! I didn't feel patronized at all. Instead, the author taught in the best way there is - conversationally, using real-life examples, including stories about his family A really enjoyable and educational microhistory about seeds that I picked up at the library based on the cover. I'm glad I did! The author did an excellent job of presenting scientific information in ways that are enriching and educational. The science is there, but a PhD is not necessary to parse through it. Nor is it dumbed down! I didn't feel patronized at all. Instead, the author taught in the best way there is - conversationally, using real-life examples, including stories about his family and friends and his own experiences, in order to make the science more readily comprehensible. I thought my favorite chapter would be the one on coffee/caffeine, as an acknowledged coffee superfan. And it was a wonderful chapter, but surprisingly, my favorite was the chapter on chili peppers! As anyone can tell you, I have zero tolerance for spice and go out of my way to avoid it at all costs, but apparently reading about them is a different story. ^_^

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bria

    The only two things I could possibly complain about are not even complaints about this book, but just about pop sci in general: 1. Not in depth enough. I need to stop expecting pop science books to substitute for university courses. I appreciate why authors move details to notes and list references, but really I just want to understand all of biology, ecology, and evolutionary history just after reading this one book - it would be easier than having to go hunt out more books. 2. A bit more focus o The only two things I could possibly complain about are not even complaints about this book, but just about pop sci in general: 1. Not in depth enough. I need to stop expecting pop science books to substitute for university courses. I appreciate why authors move details to notes and list references, but really I just want to understand all of biology, ecology, and evolutionary history just after reading this one book - it would be easier than having to go hunt out more books. 2. A bit more focus on human interest than I prefer - as in, personal narratives of the author, or other supposedly engaging stories. Somehow I don't seem to understand that I get bored without something that's entertainingly written, full of anecdotes, character descriptions, and other interesting, educational tidbits. So those aren't even complaints - those are really just telling me that Thor did a great job (really, some very clever sentences in there), and it's not his fault that I didn't come away a botanical genius. Now I guess I have to go read more books... I guess that's how pop science books reproduce.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tuck

    spanning globe, and time (pre-pre-history to gmo) hansen tells readers about seeds and how their evolution uniquely exploited life on earth to fill most every niche, and too, humans' and all other critters' reliance and uses of seed (tobacco, cotton, mango, chili....) with fast, super (over?) informative, entertaining science writing. has useful and fun illustrations, fun endnotes, glossary, exciting bibliography, and index.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    4.5* Very well written story of seeds, easy to read even for the non-horticulturist and full of interesting facts and anecdotes

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This was certainly better than I thought it would be. Based on the subject matter I thought this book would be a tad dry; but, on the contrary, it was really interesting and quite entertaining. The writing is very accessible and heavy scientific terms are left by the wayside for the most part. Hanson takes a common item that we take for granted and weaves interesting tales around them to make his point of how seeds shaped the world and influenced its history. Hanson takes the story back to how s This was certainly better than I thought it would be. Based on the subject matter I thought this book would be a tad dry; but, on the contrary, it was really interesting and quite entertaining. The writing is very accessible and heavy scientific terms are left by the wayside for the most part. Hanson takes a common item that we take for granted and weaves interesting tales around them to make his point of how seeds shaped the world and influenced its history. Hanson takes the story back to how seeds evolved to become so successful and the most common way of plant reproduction after spore reproduction was the method of choice during prehistory. Instead of reciting a history of seeds he divided the book in to sections which included information pertaining to how seeds defend themselves, how they travel, how they endure long periods of dormancy, and how the design of different types of seeds helps them flourish. The examples he uses to exemplify each section and chapter are relatable and narrative easy to follow. Prior to reading the book, my wife and I were talking about fruits and wondered why apple trees, orange trees, peach trees, watermelons, etc., would wrap their seeds with such a large quantity of fruit. This is covered in the book. So are other interesting topics such as the design and function of the seeds of coconuts, coffee, chili peppers, and cotton. Cotton and coffee were given a lot of ink as their popularity basically changed the world, in good ways and bad. My favorite parts were the discussion of how seeds travel and the chapter about the seed banks found throughout the world, the most famous of which is the Global Seed Vault in Norway. Also, fascinating was the chapter about the endurance of seeds. A 2,000 year old seed found by archaeologists in the ruins of a city in Israel started growing in 2005 and is still flourishing! I would recommend this to anyone as seeds are actually really interesting and relevant to everyday life. The subject matter is presented more anecdotally than scholarly or technically, and knowledge of botany is not necessary to enjoy this. Seeds are everywhere and almost everything we eat and drink every day either was processed from a seed or grew from one. How can you not love them? 4.5 stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

    I loved this book for its lyricism and its (pardon the pun) digestibility. As a long time gardener I appreciated the reminder of why I'm invested in seeds and plants. I didn't love this book for its blatant side stepping of important topics related to seeds, especially with whole chapters on coffee and cotton. While he did recognize the horrific impact of the cotton boom on enslaved people in North America, and especially Southern USA states, I thought the topics of slavery and colonialism were I loved this book for its lyricism and its (pardon the pun) digestibility. As a long time gardener I appreciated the reminder of why I'm invested in seeds and plants. I didn't love this book for its blatant side stepping of important topics related to seeds, especially with whole chapters on coffee and cotton. While he did recognize the horrific impact of the cotton boom on enslaved people in North America, and especially Southern USA states, I thought the topics of slavery and colonialism were owed more. It held up figures like Columbus without addressing the negatives of their legacy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Todd Martin

    A seed has been described as a baby plant in a box with its lunch. The box (or testa) protects the plant from harm, while the lunch (or endosperm) provides food for the baby plant in the form of starches, oils or proteins. The transition of early plants from spores as the method of propagation to seeds represents an important evolutionary step for plants. Spores must fall on soil suited for their growth in order to survive. However seeds, with their internal source of nutrition, protective shell A seed has been described as a baby plant in a box with its lunch. The box (or testa) protects the plant from harm, while the lunch (or endosperm) provides food for the baby plant in the form of starches, oils or proteins. The transition of early plants from spores as the method of propagation to seeds represents an important evolutionary step for plants. Spores must fall on soil suited for their growth in order to survive. However seeds, with their internal source of nutrition, protective shell and clever methods for transport can survive for years or even decades until conditions or locations are right for their germination. Not only is this feature key to the plant’s survival, but for human survival as well. Thus agriculture is founded on the principle that seeds can be harvested and stored for future use when conditions are ideal for sowing. The Triumph of Seeds is all about the natural history of seeds as well as the uses to which humans have put them. Seeds are incredibly important. Grains provide more than half of all calories in the human diet and include three of the top five global agricultural commodities (corn, rice and wheat are #2, 3 and 4 respectively). Without seeds we wouldn’t have coffee or cocoa, so even if humans managed to survive without seeds, life would barely be worth living. Since they can’t run away from potential predators, seeds have developed sophisticated chemical defenses to ward off attacks. Capsaicin, the alkaloid in chili peppers that makes them hot, evolved as a defense against fungus and small predators. While caffeine acts as a natural pesticide: it can paralyze and kill predator insects feeding on the plant. Some seeds are toxic to discourage consumption, while others are encased within a sweet fruit to encourage dispersal. Hanson has an pleasant writing style that mixes personal anecdote with history and natural history to create an interesting story. His book Feathers is also quite good.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara Van Dyck

    Charming , instructive, blending science and story – Hanson has the reader accompany him on a meandering mental (and sometimes physical) road trip, exploring the many worlds of seeds. He joins a dig in New Mexico, where researchers think the Carboniferous era may have had drier periods than was previously thought, enabling seed plants to evolve. Later he tastes coffees in a Seattle coffee house as he discusses the social and neurological aspects of drinking that beverage. Along the way he also c Charming , instructive, blending science and story – Hanson has the reader accompany him on a meandering mental (and sometimes physical) road trip, exploring the many worlds of seeds. He joins a dig in New Mexico, where researchers think the Carboniferous era may have had drier periods than was previously thought, enabling seed plants to evolve. Later he tastes coffees in a Seattle coffee house as he discusses the social and neurological aspects of drinking that beverage. Along the way he also considers the relationships that Columbus, Mendel, Eli Whitney, and Darwin had with seeds. I certainly looked at my meals – from morning coffee to an apple crisp dessert - differently while reading this! It was enjoyable to read, and worth reviewing later

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daphne

    A really well done pop-sci nature book. Each chapter done well, and had lots of interesting information each page. It had the perfect amount (for me at least) of personal interjections and experiences within the science writing. He didn't make the book about himself, but he put himself into it just enough to get me vested in both the science and his journey to discover, understand, and then communicate what he learned. One of the best pop-sci books I've read in the last few years.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kaine Korzekwa

    A great conversational discussion of the biology of seeds and how they have impacted our society through culture and commerce.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tom Rowe

    Hmmm...it wasn't a bad book. It mostly talked about things I already knew or would probably conclude on my own if had thought about it. For example, the fact that an Almond Joy consists if 5 kinds of nuts was the most interesting thing I found here. Good book, but not ground shaking for me. Maybe for someone else.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Sie

    dopey scientist academic writes about his dopey science, does a pretty good job considering how insanely boring my plant biology professor was when talking about the same things

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ina

    After reading the book, I get the impression that the author is more into telling stories and talking to researchers, than gathering and conveying scientific knowledge. The facts presented seemed very superficial and not like the work of someone who has researched the subject exhaustively before writing about it. Plus, a reviewer on Amazon rightly pointed out that in the book the genus of wheat was said to be Tricetum, while it's actually Triticum. That's an unpardonable mistake for a book that i After reading the book, I get the impression that the author is more into telling stories and talking to researchers, than gathering and conveying scientific knowledge. The facts presented seemed very superficial and not like the work of someone who has researched the subject exhaustively before writing about it. Plus, a reviewer on Amazon rightly pointed out that in the book the genus of wheat was said to be Tricetum, while it's actually Triticum. That's an unpardonable mistake for a book that is entirely focused on seeds and wheat being one of the most widely used and cultivated grains (a.k.a. seeds) globally. Can't speak for the validity of the other facts presented, especially the historic ones, but I'm not too confident in them after that mistake. Overall, while the book is a light and quick read, it's still a pretty big waste of time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Mears

    A topic that may appear dull on the surface, yet reads wonderfully. You will not think about coffee beans, chili seeds or the fall of the Roman Empire in the same way after reading. Thor has a humorous, endearing and well structured style to his writing that keeps you hooked from chapter to chapter. He weaves his own experience as a biologist with historical and scientific information but the book is always easy to read and accessible for anyone. I found his humorous and slightly self-deprecatin A topic that may appear dull on the surface, yet reads wonderfully. You will not think about coffee beans, chili seeds or the fall of the Roman Empire in the same way after reading. Thor has a humorous, endearing and well structured style to his writing that keeps you hooked from chapter to chapter. He weaves his own experience as a biologist with historical and scientific information but the book is always easy to read and accessible for anyone. I found his humorous and slightly self-deprecating style quite similar to that of Dave Goulson (A Sting in the Tale, Buzz in the Meadow etc), which for me is considered high praise. I look forward to reading more of his work!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    A very satisfying book. It's remarkable just how amazing the seed is. Hanson has written a tight, well-edited, easy-to-read history that showcases its magic. He weaves personal narrative alongside the science and covers all of the pertinent topics ranging from the why and how, as well as the incredible impact seeds have on humanity. I particularly enjoyed the socio-economic role seeds have played throughout history, having never really thought about just how powerful they've been in global polit A very satisfying book. It's remarkable just how amazing the seed is. Hanson has written a tight, well-edited, easy-to-read history that showcases its magic. He weaves personal narrative alongside the science and covers all of the pertinent topics ranging from the why and how, as well as the incredible impact seeds have on humanity. I particularly enjoyed the socio-economic role seeds have played throughout history, having never really thought about just how powerful they've been in global politics and commerce.

  20. 5 out of 5

    V

    (4.5 stars) + the author is very enthusiastic about seeds, and his accessible style means you will be too + great breadth, and covers different types of seeds though more on edible varieties + genuinely funny. “Mama cook food, Papa cook poop” cracks me up days after I read that bit - occasionally a little longwinded - despite the subtitle, it’s more about seeds themselves rather than their impact on human history

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Gibson

    Well written and engaging for non-botanists like me. I listened to the Audible version and the narration was very good.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joann

    Excellent book. Well researched and well written. Full of interesting information. Love when I can learn and be entertained at the same time. Appreciated extensive resources at the end.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This book is nothing special but it’s a charming quick read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mackie Welch

    This one surprisingly grabbed me. Who knew seeds played so many roles in history! PS everyone in my book club thought it was boring for what it's worth. I did not!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    Informative and entertaining to a degree, but very superficial. Plus a little too twee for my taste with all the cutesy-cute interjections from the author's personal life, a little too much time dwelling on how his conversations with other experts went on (and on and on...), and a few other things that didn't sit well with me (for example, no, Columbus was not the first to cross the Atlantic nor the first to report on the vegetation of the Americas; maybe the whole cotton-business-driven slavery Informative and entertaining to a degree, but very superficial. Plus a little too twee for my taste with all the cutesy-cute interjections from the author's personal life, a little too much time dwelling on how his conversations with other experts went on (and on and on...), and a few other things that didn't sit well with me (for example, no, Columbus was not the first to cross the Atlantic nor the first to report on the vegetation of the Americas; maybe the whole cotton-business-driven slavery business deserved more than a throaway line before spending paragraphs on the life history of the inventor of the cotton gin; and perhaps a seed dispersal ecologist should know better than to be an alarmist about gene technology).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I would describe this book as a combo of random Wikipedia entries about plants combined w remotely endearing anecdotes about this author and his three year old. Pass.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Read this for the Longwood Gardens Community Reads program. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I want to plant all the seeds!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Simone

    Delightful and informative.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gendou

    This is an artfully written, fascinating, and highly informative book all about seeds. The writing is personal at times, but not to the point of coming off self-centered. The author talks about his own experiences studying plants. But he also goes down many informative avenues. * Chemical pesticides e.g. caffeine and capsaicin found in seeds. * Germination and how seeds can stay dormant until the conditions are right. * Seed dispersal techniques e.g. being carried by the wind or in the stomach of a This is an artfully written, fascinating, and highly informative book all about seeds. The writing is personal at times, but not to the point of coming off self-centered. The author talks about his own experiences studying plants. But he also goes down many informative avenues. * Chemical pesticides e.g. caffeine and capsaicin found in seeds. * Germination and how seeds can stay dormant until the conditions are right. * Seed dispersal techniques e.g. being carried by the wind or in the stomach of animals. * Seed anatomy and the origin and spread of flowering plants. He gives passing mention to GMOs. And does so with disdainful gullibility. It's surprising to me that a scientist like Thor Hanson would be suckered into repeating such unscientific and false concerns as these. * He seems to imply that seed patents are unique to GMOs. This is false. Seed lineages have been patented for over 100 years. The introduction of genetic techniques hasn't changed the relevant laws. The up-front expense in producing new varieties using GM traits is made tolerable because of the patent system. This is the system working to allow science to happen. Only profound ignorance and extremely biased thinking could lead someone to conclude that GMOs are bad *because* their seeds are patented. This is a moronic idea and is popular because (thanks to human nature and the Internet) lazy, half-baked fear-mongering works astonishingly well. * He says there are valid environmental and health worries. But this isn't a problem unique to GMOs. Concerns have been raised about environmental and health impacts. And the science has consistently shown them to be unfounded. That GMOs are safe to eat is one of the most well established facts in science. GM technology is a tool. It's neutral. It can be used to help the environment. And health. It should be so used! Pest tolerant crops use less land and can use fewer (in tonnage) less-harsh chemicals than the non-GM alternative. Golden Rice can help prevent blindness in millions of children. * He even claims creating transgenic organisms is a "moral issue". This is ridiculous. Especially considering transgenic organisms occur in nature all the time. Where does he think we got the technology to introduce genes from one organism into another? Nature.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jafar

    A seed, as botanists put it, is a baby plant with its lunch packed in a box. That's the best way to think of seeds. The necessary nutrients are inside a shell, ready to be used by the seed when the time is right for germination. There's a lot of really interesting information in this book: history (how seeds gave us agriculture and therefore civilization), biology (how plants evolved reproduction using seeds and how seeds operate), genetics (Mendel's experiments with beans), commerce (cotton and A seed, as botanists put it, is a baby plant with its lunch packed in a box. That's the best way to think of seeds. The necessary nutrients are inside a shell, ready to be used by the seed when the time is right for germination. There's a lot of really interesting information in this book: history (how seeds gave us agriculture and therefore civilization), biology (how plants evolved reproduction using seeds and how seeds operate), genetics (Mendel's experiments with beans), commerce (cotton and spices), gastronomy (how chili seeds and coffee beans evolved their properties not for our joy but as a form of pesticide), etc.

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