Book Reviews

Book reviews

-Dr.Susan Sharma

Book I

‘Insatiable Appetite Revisited:The US Impact on the Tropical World’
-Richard P. Tucker

Following his studies of forest resources in colonial India, Prof. Tucker turned to research on the ecological transformations resulting from United States investments in the tropical world.  In his book, Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Decline of the Tropical World, he surveyed American corporate investment in cane sugar, bananas, coffee, beef, natural rubber and timber products, and the importance of American consumer markets for these and other primary products of the developing economies.

The preview of the book (first 75 pages) are available in Google Books and makes fascinating reading.  Here are some excerpts I found interesting.

On the eagerness to domesticate wilderness

"In clearing forest for plantations, the company chose virgin alluvial soil on reverine terraces.  The workers removed undergrowth, girdles high trees and planted banana suckers immediately.  Then they felled and burned the tall trees, leaving only native rubber trees standing. Bananas grew faser than weeds and natural second growth, smothering them.  Long rational ranks of a single species replaced the infinite confusing variety of the natural forest."  (page 50)

On the banana mutinationals

"Exports rose to 1,98,000 tons in 1960. This increase resulted almost entirely from an intensification of productivity, since the acreage planted in bananas from one year to the next did not vary greatly.......But the costs were high; intensification requred ever-increasing amounts of commercial fertilizer and pesticides, which were supplied by American agro-chemical giants led by Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto Chemicals.....(Page 72)

Book II
"Tales from the Wild"
-Dr.Raza H.Tehzin and Arefa Tehsin

A collection of fascinating stories for growing children. The thrills, delights, life cycles and conservation  facts are seamlessly blended in the stories, making the tales interesting and "realistic". 

Here is an interesting excerpt

"Have you ever seen a firefly? They live inthe moist surroundings of streams,pools, lakes, marshes, jungles and fields.  You may not have seen them if you live in a big city, where you can't even see the stars clearly at night.  Fireflies are found in all continents except Antartic. ....

"Why do the fireflies twinkle?," you would ask.   They twinkle because they talk to each other through light.  Sometimes they flash to warn predators or defend their territory, but mostly they twinkle to attract a partner to reproduce.  I have often stood captivated seeing this silent music of the night."

This book which costs only Rs 96/- is published by Unicorn Books and is distributd by Pustak Mahal.

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