Book Review: Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel

 My book review for Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel.

Title: Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World

By: Dan Koeppel

Genre: Non-Fiction

Pages: 281

Release Date: December 27th, 2007

Publisher: Hudson Street Press

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary from Goodreads:

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.


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Its a strange thing to read a book about banana's and you could think I'm weird for being really entertained by the whole ordeal, but I should probably give you some background on why I read this book as its not something one just picks up one day and says, "This looks like a good read."

Here's the skinny. I have to do a presentation at work. Everyone did something that was work related, but I've been holding out on this presentation because I really don't want to do it. I figure if I was going to do something that was going to make me extremally uncomfortable, everyone else was going to be uncomfortable with me. So here I come with info on Banana's. They will never see it coming.

Anyway... I picked up this book to find out more interesting info on the whole banana world that wasn't easily found with a google search. Turns out there is a deep banana underworld where countries have laterally thrived or fallen on the backs of the banana plant. There are deep conspiracies involving the CIA and the elder George Bush.

The most important info I gleaned from this treasure trove of banana info was the truth about the sustainability of the fruit. It can't reproduce on its own and the Panama disease is threatening the banana from every corner of the world.

If you are prepared to deep dive into how bananas changed the world, you have to read this book.

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