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What Tom Vanderbilt did for traffic and Brian Wansink did for mindless eating, Jonathan Bloom does for food waste. The topic couldn't be timelier: As more people are going hungry while simultaneously more people are morbidly obese, American Wasteland sheds light on the history, culture, and mindset of waste while exploring the parallel eco-friendly and sustainable-food movements. As the era of unprecedented prosperity comes to an end, it's time to reexamine our culture of excess.Working at both a local grocery store and a major fast food chain and volunteering with a food recovery group, Bloom also interviews experts-from Brian Wansink to Alice Waters to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen-and digs up not only why and how we waste, but, more importantly, what we can do to change our ways.
In its first thousand years -- from the revelations to Muhammad in the seventh century to the great Islamic empires of the sixteenth -- Islamic civilization flourished. While Europeans suffered through the Dark Ages, Muslims in such cities as Jerusalem, Damascus, Alexandria, Fez, Tunis, Cairo, and Baghdad made remarkable advances in philosophy, science, medicine, literature, and art. This engrossing and accessible book explores the first millennium of Islamic culture, shattering stereotypes and enlightening readers about the events and achievements that have shaped contemporary Islamic civilization. Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair examine the rise of Islam, the life of Muhammad, and the Islamic principles of faith. They describe the golden age of the Abbasids, the Mongol invasions, and the great Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires that emerged in their wake. Their narrative, complemented by excerpts of the Koran, poetry, biographies, inscriptions, travel guides, and even a thirteenth-century recipe, concludes with a brief epilogue that takes us to the twentieth century. Colorfully illustrated, this book is a wonderful introduction to the rich history of a civilization that still radically affects the world.
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