What is the summary for the book "Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History" by Sidney Mintz?

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caitlinm3 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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This book is filled with the history of sugar and how it was introduced to European countries. It also discusses how sugar used to be viewed as a luxurious item during a time when people had a starch based diet, whereas today it is definitely a daily staple for so many people around the world. Mintz illustrates for readers how a simple condiment played such a huge role throughout history among British society as it changed on an economic and social level. Political and economic power appeared between the Colonial West Indies and Britain as sugar bound these areas. The Caribbean sugar production increased an incredible amount as the number, and ability, of British factories increased.

Sugar went from a spice to a medicine in the nineteenth century. Some people who could afford it used sugar to make sculptures for decoration. The three products that were able to make sugar a part of the daily diet are tea, chocolate, and coffee. When sugar was first available it was very expensive and only wealthy people could afford it. Once sugar became more affordable, people realized that sugar can help with caloric intake and energy.

Sugar production relied heavily on the African Slave trade, or in areas where sugar cane was available. These areas were necessary for any sugar production.

Hope this helps!