Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Book Review: "Nathaniel's Nutmeg"

Giles Milton's Nathaniel's Nutmeg is an armchair history of the East Indian spice race, which might be interesting were it not so poorly done. Milton's work is basically a litany of voyage-facts interspersed with some (unfootnoted and unreferenced) quotes from "primary sources." While attention-grabbing at times, the majority of the text is unexceptional.

Additionally, the design of the book just bugged me; while I often find pictures joined with the text very useful and complementary to a book, those in Nutmeg rarely seemed to match the accompanying text, often referring to either something from pages past or an incident farther along. The large captions were distracting and disrupted the flow of the page.

Not a book I can bring myself to recommend.

2 comments:

Bibliochef said...

Me too. I found it pretty swashbuckling goes boring, and ignores the awful parts of colonialism. Just reviewed it in a discussion of books on single topics (like SALT and CURRY, both of which were much better books). See my site: http://cookingwithideas.typepad.com/cooking_with_ideas/

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