Courtney Fullilove, The Profit of the Earth: The Global Seeds of American Agriculture

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2017, 288 pp., $40.00 Cloth, ISBN: 9780226455051.
  • Chris FiteEmail author
Book Review

The world-weary author of Ecclesiastes long ago wrote, “Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.” This verse not only inspired the title of Courtney Fullilove’s outstanding book, The Profit of the Earth, but the ancient wisdom also resonates with her stunning analysis of power relations within agricultural systems. Agriculture has been a near-ubiquitous feature of human societies for millennia, and its products sustain lives and livelihoods. Yet, agricultural practices and products are also embedded in the same social structures and hierarchies that define those societies. The profits of the earth may be for all, but, as Fullilove masterfully demonstrates, they do not accrue equally to all.

At every turn in The Profit of the Earth, Fullilove provides sharp analysis, theoretical sophistication, and compelling stories that are beautifully told. From the subtitle of the book, one might expect a straightforward tale of American plant collecting...


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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