Three fat books

As I prepare for a lengthy rehabilitation period after bilateral knee surgery, I have 3 nice, fat books to read. One, The Wise Men, the Americans who built our post-WW II world of mutual dependence, international platforms, and integrated markets and defense postures, gets you into the details of how and why this edifice was constructed. (now I’m talking like a political scientist).
The other one I’ve already posted on ( The Slave Trade gives a picture of the interconnectedness of trade. The Transatlantic slave trade was built on the back of earlier trade networks. The author at first made me wonder b/c he consistently identified the merchants of Jewish background as such, mostly mentioning the conversos or Jews forced to take on Christianity as protective coloring during the Inquisition (alas, it didn’t protect all, even those at the highest levels of society). It turns out, to my way of thinking, that he was pointing out the basis for these trading networks. The slave trade fell into this network and eventually swallowed whole societies.
I noticed in that earlier blog entry I mentioned sugar as the next possible item of interest. A good deal of my Magnum Opus used the book Sugar In the Blood as evidence for the continuity in our culture from colonial times to the present and I had stumbled on that book in searching for information on sugar itself. Well, one of my favorites authors, Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories) has just come out with The Case Against Sugar and I’m already into the history of sugar. Taubes’ forte is explaining scientific facts, so I don’t expect a major historical or sociological analysis from him and do look forward to the evidence he can produce (with difficulty, since we have no sugar free populations that are like us in other ways; obviously someone who does not consume sugar is, on an individual basis going to be unusual and loaded with other habits which defy comparison with sugar consumers, or on a societal basis going to be an isolated group with a diet and life-style entirely unlike ours). I have never eaten a lot of sugar, esp in my adult years. On a daily basis I get only what is already in foods and we don’t eat a lot of packaged or prepared foods, mostly from scratch, so compared to someone who drinks pop routinely, puts sugar in their coffee, eats sweets, etc., I am practically sugar-free. Maybe that’s why I am so healthy the doctor agreed to bilateral surgery at my age even though he says I’m right on the edge at 75. I prefer to think it’s that I commit sins in moderation. Just like a juicy fruit pie, my sins are few but carefully chosen and fully indulged in.

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