Of rice and men: debut review from Nature Plants

Posted on behalf of Anna Armstrong


Rice germplasm in the Philippines

Nature Plants has sprouted. This new journal focuses on all aspects of plants, from their evolution, development and metabolism to their societal significance.

In the first book review of the first issue, archaeobotanist Dorian Fuller provides a lively review of Renee Marton’s book Rice: A Global History (Reaktion, 2014).  Marton’s slim volume explores the natural, social and cultural history of this staple, consumed by two-thirds of the world population.

She lucidly introduces readers to the long, cross-cultural history of rice, and illustrates some of the social consequences of its trajectory through the ages. The grain’s arrival in the Americas, for instance, paved the way to the cultivation of cotton and sugar, but also drove up demand for slaves. Fuller feels Rice fails to get to grips with insights gained from genetic research over the past two decades, but finds it an accessible, well-illustrated account of how rice has made it to tabletops the world over. And with 16 historical rice-based recipes, it may well leave you hungry for more.

hlhqtj-c1451ad31cdae6d0cdff4ad97c2ae7efNature Plants, the first new journal in four years from Nature Publishing Group, will publish primary research and reviews, as well as opinion pieces, news, and books and arts reviews like this one. Anna Armstrong is its senior editor.


For Nature’s full coverage of science in culture, visit




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