09 June 2014

Red Madness; Gail Jarrow

Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We EatRed Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat by Gail Jarrow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This could so easily have been a higher-rated book but, well... ok, first of all, that trim size. Why, publishers, why? It's just wrong. This is not a book that needs the bigger size to support maps or photos. Then there were far too many examples of pellagrins and they started to run together. Half as many, twice as nice. Finally, comparing pellagra and its cost in terms of lives to other, better known diseases, would really have put this in perspective (ditto adding in the cost in European lives and how those countries reacted to American discoveries). Yes, we do get some information about scurvy and beriberi, but what do today's students know about those? TB would have been better, ditto polio. Not the same cause, but sheer numbers might have been instructive.

For students looking for reasons why we enrich our food, and what that might be necessary even today, this is a good exploration and might lead to other books on nutrition and food additives.

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