Coauthored with Marina Budhos
Published in 2010, by Clarion Books.
An LA Times Book Award finalist and a Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award
We were inspired to write this book when we discovered that we each have sugar in oue family backgrounds. Those intriguing tales inspired Marina and I to trace the globe-spanning history of the essence of sweetness, and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. As we discovered, the trail of sugar runs like a bright band through world events, making unexpected and fascinating connections.
Sugar leads us from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, when Christians paid high prices to Muslims for what they thought of as an exotic spice, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas.
Cane–not cotton or tobacco–drove the bloody Atlantic slave trade and took the lives of countless Africans, who toiled on vast sugar plantations under cruel overseers. And yet the vary popularity of sugar gave abolitionists in England the one tool that could finally end the slave trade. Planters then brought in South Asians to work in the cane fields, just as science found new ways to feed the world’s craving for sweetness. Sugar moved, murdered, and freed millions.
Check out the book’s microsite: http://sugarchangedtheworld.com/
“For a family or classroom wanting to talk about the human consequences of how food comes to our tables, Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos have prepared a bountiful feast, the broad scope of which is captured in their subtitle: “A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science.” These authors, husband and wife, look at sugar, focusing on the human costs, especially in the 18th century, of bringing it from field to table.”
The Washington Post
“Circling the globe and spanning millennia, this eye-opening book is the first collaboration between Marc Aronson, a top historian for young readers, and his wife, Marina Budhos, a novelist with roots in sugar (her father’s family left India for work on a sugar plantation in the Caribbean). Central to sugar’s story is the brutality involved in its manufacture, and the authors use all sorts of sweeteners – personal stories, archival photos, maps and historical anecdotes – to help the medicine go down.”