Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug

Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug

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The epic story of how coffee connected and divided the modern world

Coffee is an indispensable part of daily life for billions of people around the world--one of the most valuable commodities in the history of global capitalism, the leading source of the world's most popular drug, and perhaps the most widespread word on the planet. Augustine Sedgewick's Coffeeland tells the hidden and surprising story of how this came to be, tracing coffee's five-hundred-year transformation from a mysterious Muslim ritual into an everyday necessity.

This story is one that few coffee drinkers know. It centers on the volcanic highlands of El Salvador, where James Hill, born in the slums of Manchester, England, founded one of the world's great coffee dynasties at the turn of the twentieth century. Adapting the innovations of the Industrial Revolution to plantation agriculture, Hill helped to turn El Salvador into perhaps the most intensive monoculture in modern history, a place of extraordinary productivity, inequality, and violence.

Following coffee from Hill family plantations into supermarkets, kitchens, and workplaces across the United States, and finally into today's ubiquitous caf�s, Sedgewick reveals how coffee bred vast wealth and hard poverty, at once connecting and dividing the modern world. In the process, both El Salvador and the United States earned the nickname "Coffeeland," but for starkly different reasons, and with consequences that reach into the present. This extraordinary history of coffee opens up a new perspective on how the globalized world works, ultimately provoking a reconsideration of what it means to be connected to faraway people and places through the familiar things that make up our day-to-day lives.

Title:Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781594206153
Format Type:

    Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug Reviews

  • Diane S ?

    The focus, the range of this book, in my opinion was just too large, the back and forth nature, too confusing. There were parts I enjoyed, the changing nature of the scientific basis of what coffee is...

  • Oleksandr Zholud

    This is a non-fic about the expansion of coffee consumption and how low income coffee producing countries exploit their labor force to produce coffee beans, mostly consumed in middle/high income count...

  • Madeline

    3.5 stars. Full review below!-Sedgewick provides a vast and detailed account of the origins of coffee in El Salvador, and how it came to take over the entire country, influencing the economy, governme...

  • Marks54

    This Is a fine book - more than I thought it would be when I started reading it. It is a biography of sorts, but of whom? A first try would be of a product - coffee - and its place in the US economy, ...

  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Coffeeland: One Man's Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug by Augustine Sedgewick is a very highly recommended discourse on the history of coffee working from the perspective of the Hill f...

  • Silvana

    Way too all over the place and hardly focused, but it has some interesting points on coffee plantation culture, the role of state (up to committing genocide on indigenous people to protect the ruling ...

  • Rick Wilson

    If you want a lesson on what it takes to start an empire, here it is. An interesting combination of macro and micro economic factors that went into making James Hill one of the largest coffee producer...

  • Claudia

    Despite the title, this is actually a history of El Salvador through a coffee filtered lens as well as a family that made themselves into one of the "Fourteen Families" political power entity.From the...

  • Kathleen Gray

    If you've never thought about coffee past free trade versus not (or latte versus americano), this is an amazing and educational read. We have James Hill, a British expatriate in El Salvador to thank f...

  • David

    Available as an unabridged 15-hour audio download.I downloaded this audiobook because it was mentioned favorably in “Caffeine” by Michael Pollan, a two-hour-long “Audible Original”. Pollan adm...