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Publisher Description

A gripping biological detective story that uncovers the myth, mystery, and endangered fate of the world’s most humble fruit

To most people, a banana is a banana: a simple yellow fruit. Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. In others parts of the world, bananas are what keep millions of people alive. But for all its ubiquity, the banana is surprisingly mysterious; nobody knows how bananas evolved or exactly where they originated. Rich cultural lore surrounds the fruit: In ancient translations of the Bible, the “apple” consumed by Eve is actually a banana (it makes sense, doesn’t it?). Entire Central American nations have been said to rise and fall over the banana.

But the biggest mystery about the banana today is whether it will survive. A seedless fruit with a unique reproductive system, every banana is a genetic duplicate of the next, and therefore susceptible to the same blights. Today’s yellow banana, the Cavendish, is increasingly threatened by such a blight—and there’s no cure in sight.

Banana combines a pop-science journey around the globe, a fascinating tale of an iconic American business enterprise, and a look into the alternately tragic and hilarious banana subculture (one does exist)—ultimately taking us to the high-tech labs where new bananas are literally being built in test tubes, in a race to save the world’s most beloved fruit.

Business & Personal Finance
December 27
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

LeoEdward ,

The worlds most interesting fruit

Great history of the first and last fruit most people ever eat. Who knew of the empires made and ruined and the underlying politics behind this perfect food.

schlabberfutt ,

A not-so-exciting topic made fascinating by author

A friend suggested I should read “Banana” after my recent move to Costa Rica. I reluctantly ordered it...and then couldn’t put it down! So it was a banana, not an apple that got Adam and Eve in trouble? The US wasn’t the heroic savior, but the exploiter that violated human rights and ultimately destabilized the Central American “Banana Republics”? Bananas were only recently introduced to South- and Central America? In parts of Africa, the banana represents 70% of the dietary intake? Banana-based agricultural practices have been devastating to rain forests?

Very well researched, very well written.

Rsp2003 ,

Great book poorly written

This book contained great information and I learned many things, but the author is very repetitive and rambles on at some points.

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