William Alexander

Sep 2, 2022

Ten Tomatoes that Changed the World

Grand Central Publishing 2022

The tomato gets no respect. Never has. Stored in the dustbin of history for centuries, accused of being vile and poisonous, appropriated as wartime propaganda, subjected to being picked hard-green and gassed, even used as a projectile, the poor tomato is the Rodney Dangerfield of foods. Yet, the tomato is the most popular vegetable in America (and, in fact, the world). It holds a place in America's soul like no other vegetable, and few other foods. Each summer, tomato festivals crop up across the country; John Denver had a hit single titled "homegrown Tomatoes;" and the Heinz tomato ketchup bottle, instantly recognizable, is in the Smithsonian.

Author William Alexander is on a mission to get tomatoes the respect they deserve. Supported by meticulous research but told in a lively, accessible voice, Ten Tomatoes that Changed the World (Grand Central Publishing, 2022) seamlessly weaves travel, history, humor, and a little adventure (and misadventure) to follow the tomato's trail through history. A fascinating story complete with heroes, con artists, conquistadors and, no surprise, the Mafia, this book is a mouth-watering, informative, and entertaining guide to the good that has captured our hearts for generations.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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