So, incredibly weird fact about me – I am fascinated with the history of bananas. While I’ve only read one of the banana books in my collection, it is something I enjoy reading about and talking about and researching. Did you know bananas did a lot to shape North and South America? That entire wars have started thanks to the banana? Not only is the banana itself interesting (did you know it’s an herb?), the companies and advertising associated with it is interesting as well. So without further ado, here’s my awesome collections of books about bananas!
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Bananas – How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World by Peter Chapman
This is the one book I have read. It covers the history of the banana as it relates to the United Fruit Company. This one company shaped a very large part of the Americans – North, Central, and South. While this book is written as more of a research paper instead of a narrative like modern pop science, I still found the stories and information contained within fascinating.
Banana – The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel
This book covers the entire history of the banana – from its very origins to its uncertain future. It is broken down into six parts: Family Trees; Expansion; Corn Flakes and Coup d’Etas; Never Enough; Good-bye Michael; and A New Banana. Just reading the chapter titles gets me excited to read this book!
The Banana – Its History, Cultivation and Place among Staple Foods by Reynolds
I originally found this book while doing research at my university’s library. It was old and falling apart – and super interesting! It was first published in 1921 (according to what I can find on Amazon…) and it deals with the more biological history of the banana. What bits and pieces I have read from it are fascinating, as this book was written before a lot of the influential banana events of the 20th century occurred.
Bitter Fruit – The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer
The American coup in Guatemala is probably the event that got me hooked on bananas in the first place. I even once tried to write a historical ficiton book about it. (Turns out, writing historical fiction is a lot harder than one would think. 😛) This book goes into detail the events surrounding the coup.
The Fish That Ate the Whale – The Life and Times of America’s Banana King by Rich Cohen
This book follows the story of Samuel Zemurray – the “banana king”. It’s likely due to him that we even know about the banana at all. He is also the person who eventually led the United Fruit company and had great influence over the development of Central America.
Am I missing any important banana books? Which one of these intrigues you the most?