Monday, November 12, 2012

Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History・世界史を変えた50の植物

Yet it happens again. I often encounter books I was hoping to see translated into Japanese, piled up on display shelves in bookstores, one of those days. Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History is one of them.


The book consists of 2-4 page descriptions on 50 plant species, which the author felt was the most influential on human history. The selection of course includes olive, rice, poppy, and also such species as agave and pineapple. The articles are accompanied by beautiful illustrations and photos, and it almost feels like an extract from encyclopedia and surely makes a wonderful coffee table book! The book design should also be noted; from the grayish papers with nice texture to the velvet book marker, it is made with great attention to the detail. The design was kept in the Japanese edition (which is kind of rare; book design is usually extensively altered in the transition).


There actually is a follow up to this book, which was about 50 animal species that changed human history. Including horses, mouses, whales, bees, and so on, I would guess most people are familiar with animal species influential to our lives better than the plant counterparts. Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History also has been translated into Japanese and published.


And, there are even more follow ups in the original series... about 50 minerals and machines that changed the human history. Yes, it popped out of the natural world already! Well, personally, I would be interested to read about 50 micro-organisms as well. I am looking forward to the next edition!


Photos taken from and

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