A Rich and Fertile Land - A History of Food in America

Author(s): Bruce Kraig

Social Sciences | Reaktion Books | Cookery

The small ears of corn once grown by Native Americans have now become row upon row of cornflakes on supermarket shelves. The immense seas of grass and herds of animals that supported indigenous people have turned into industrial agricultural operations with regular rows of soybeans, corn, and wheat that feed the world. But how did this happen and why? In A Rich and Fertile Land, Bruce Kraig investigates the history of food in America, uncovering where it comes from and how it has changed over time.


From the first Native Americans to modern industrial farmers, Kraig takes us on a journey to reveal how people have shaped the North American continent and its climate based on the foods they craved and the crops and animals that they raised. He analyzes the ideas that Americans have about themselves and the world around them, and how these ideas have been shaped by interactions with their environments. He details the impact of technical innovation and industrialization, which have in turn created modern American food systems.


Drawing upon recent evidence from the fields of science, archaeology, and technology, A Rich and Fertile Land is a unique and valuable history of the geography, climate, and food of the United States.


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"What we eat is an increasingly provocative issue, making A Rich and Fertile Land a well-timed book. We are endlessly obsessed with food and its relationship with health, environment and economy—so what better way to understand the status quo than by travelling back in time. . . . A deeply knowledgable introduction to US food that shows how the environment has been melded to suit human desire since the Native Americans, and how cultural and political beliefs have shaped eating habits. . . . Kraig’s broad observations are worth a read for anyone interested in food or American history. More than anything he reminds us that the country is a cultural melting pot; a land of immigrants, and its hamburgers, tacos, frankfurters, and schnitzels tell a story not just of a rich and fertile land, but a changing one full of intercultural exchange and goodwill, at the dinner table at least." 

- Times Literary Supplement (JC BookGrocer)

General Fields

  • : 9781780238531
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : December 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Bruce Kraig
  • : Hardback
  • : 304