by Jack Turner
From the publisher: In this brilliant, engrossing work, Jack Turner explores an era—from ancient times through the Renaissance—when what we now consider common condiments were valued in gold and blood.
Spices made sour medieval wines palatable, camouflaged the smell of corpses, and served as wedding night aphrodisiacs. Indispensible for cooking, medicine, worship, and the arts of love, they were thought to have magical properties and were so valuable that they were often kept under lock and key. For some, spices represented Paradise, for others, the road to perdition, but they were potent symbols of wealth and power, and the wish to possess them drove explorers to circumnavigate the globe—and even to savagery.
Following spices across continents and through literature and mythology, Spice is a beguiling narrative about the surprisingly vast influence spices have had on human desire. Includes eight pages of color photographs.
Jack Turner was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1968. He received his B.A. in Classical Studies from Melbourne University and his Ph.D. in International Relations from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Foundation Junior Research Fellow.
Declared one of the Best Books of the Year by Discover Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, and the San Francisco Chronicle
Penguin Random House, 2005