Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top ten potato books

John Reader is a writer and photojournalist who holds an honorary research fellowship in the Department of Anthropology at University College London.

His new book, from Yale University Press, is Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent.

For the Guardian, he named his top 10 potato books.

Number One on the list:
History and Social Influence of the Potato by Redcliffe Salaman

Initially published by in 1949, but reissued in 1985, Salaman's book has to be first choice. He was nothing if not unrelenting in the breadth of his research, firing off letters to any institution or individual who might add something (or anything) to his study. The result is a deep and thorough book that amazes (in its detail) and exasperates (in its poor structural organisation) by turn. Indispensable.
See all ten titles on Reader's list.

Read an excerpt from John Reader's Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent.

--Marshal Zeringue