Eugene N. Anderson
's new book offers an expansive history of food, environment, and their relationships in China. From prehistory through the Ming and beyond, Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) pays careful attention to a wide range of contexts of concern with nature and its resources. Readers of Anderson's book will find fascinating discussions of rice agriculture and fermentation, the etiquette of food and eating, concerns with deforestation in classical literature, the emergence of principles and practices of environmental management, and much more. Throughout the book, Anderson situates China within a larger frame of Central Asian history, with extensive discussions of the Silk Road and the importance of Mongol empire for the movement and circulation of food- and environment-related materials and practices. Though the main part of the book ends with the Ming Dynasty, a final chapter considers the themes of the book as they thread through modern and contemporary China. Two appendices offer further introductions to related themes - "Conservation Among China's Neighbors" and "An Introduction to Central Asian Food." Enjoy!