Geography is intrinsic to life. Like economics, in that everything has an associated cost, evidence of geography at work can be found in seemingly mundane stuff, like bananas.
When we dive further, say “pull the peel away,” a much richer story of space and time is revealed. And that is the case with the bananas United States citizens eat everyday.
Mr. Koeppel relates a compelling story, full of mystery, intrigue, conspiracy, romance, and death – all related to the banana. Okay, the romance part may be a little bit of a leap, until one considers that the banana is THE most popular fruit on the planet. Humans, and many other vertebrates, invertebrates, and microbes of all types, love the banana.
The fascinating part of the story of the banana deals most with the unseen enemies of the banana. The Cavendish of today, the banana found at Kroger, and stores across the United States, is threatened by a fungus. The predecessor to the Cavendish, the Gros Michel, was rendered extinct by the Panama Disease, the same disease that threatens to exterminate our beloved Cavendish.
Koeppel’s telling of the development of our modern-day Cavendish begins almost at the dawn of time; well, with Adam and Eve, anyway. Koeppel takes us on a geographical journey, from Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, to Central and South America, and finally to the United States and Europe. We Americans tend to be very unimaginative when it comes to the banana and its uses. Across the globe, the banana is seen as a valuable, if not essential, food stuff.
Koeppel hits all the right spots with this book. An easy-to-read, interesting, fact-filled, historical and geographic tome, his book illustrates the geography of the world’s favorite fruit.
Read this book!