Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top 10 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. One title on the list:
Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor

The potato famine that struck Ireland in the 1840s was the greatest social catastrophe of 19th-century Europe – a consequence of the potato's exceptional nutritional attributes, exacerbated by political and economic inequities that had left most of the Irish with nothing else to eat, and executed by a disease, Late Blight, that totally destroyed the country's potato crop. In Star of the Sea, O'Connor's writes eloquently, heart-wrenchingly, of a disaster and its aftermath that were God's way, some said, "of converting Connemara peasants into Boston politicians".
Read about Number One on Reader's list.

--Marshal Zeringue