Cloth $27.00 ISBN: 9781789141429 Published December 2019 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.

Mulberry

Peter Coles

Mulberry

Peter Coles

Distributed for Reaktion Books

264 pages | 95 color plates, 5 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $27.00 ISBN: 9781789141429 Published December 2019 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $27.00 ISBN: 9781789141740 Published October 2019
Since antiquity, few trees have had a greater impact on the world’s cultures and economies than the mulberry. The sole food of the silkworm, the leaves of the mulberry brought prosperity not only to ancient China, but to all nations that learned the art of silk production. Mulberry bark was used to make the first paper, and the succulent, blood-red fruit of the black mulberry has inspired poets from Ovid to Shakespeare. The medicinal properties of all parts of the tree have been known for millennia, making it a tree of choice for medieval monastery gardens, while its anti-diabetic effects are opening exciting avenues of research today.

This sumptuously illustrated book tells the remarkable story of the mulberry tree and its migrations from China and Central Asia to almost every continent of the globe. It will appeal to all who wish to know more of the rich—and often juicy—history of this emblematic tree.
Review Quotes
Adrian Barnett | New Scientist
"Mulberry, a book celebrating the marvelous tree, goes beyond its ancient links to silk production to explore its role in everything from the oldest banknotes to modern drugs. . . . In the right hands, book series can be very satisfying. Reaktion Books has developed several over recent years. One of these is a delightful series called Botanical that aims to integrate the social, biological and historical contexts of a plant, tree or flower."
Botany One
"Abundantly illustrated, and well-written. It’s a story that’s told well, and contains many good yarns. And. since author Coles is cofounder and editor of Morus Londinium—a website devoted to unravelling London’s mulberry tree heritage—this is a book that’s been written by an obvious enthusiast for its subject. . . . The back cover of Mulberry states, 'Since antiquity few trees have had a greater impact on the world’s culture and economy than the mulberry.' That is a bold claim. Whether it is justified is always going to be questioned. But, Coles certainly does his best to substantiate that assertion. You are most cordially invited to read Mulberry and form your own view . . . "
P. K. Strother, Boston College | Choice
"This is a beautifully made book. It features real sewn signatures and color photographs, some of which are two-page spreads of particularly interesting mulberry trees around England. The work would best be characterized as a natural history of the mulberry tree, of which there are three basic species, red, black, and white...It will be valuable for general readers and amateurs who have a propensity for botany."
English Garden
"Few plants have been as influential on human life as this modest tree. . . . Author Coles is a consummate researcher and engaging writer in this addition to the series from Reaktion Books."
Gardens Illustrated
"Coles pursues the mulberry through legend, art, and literature, from ancient Chinese myths to Instagram, before a fascinating final chapter explores the many uses of the 'Tree of Plenty.' . . . A comprehensively researched and wide-ranging introduction to the subject."
Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland News
"Mulberries, in the minds of so many, are the trees that feed silkworms, but Coles expands that concept beyond measure. From palaeobotany to medicines to computer games Coles leads his readers through the breadth of the mulberry’s cultural history. . . . The joy of the book is the lightness of touch in the prose deployed by Coles, writing in everyday speech rhythms that retain the interest of his readers and maintain momentum. . . . How deftly and succinctly Coles leads readers through ancient cultures and their territories and through centuries of legislation governing the growing and spreading of the mulberry. He succeeds in making legislation interesting. . . . The publishers have converted his material into a handsome volume commensurate with the quality within."
Stephen J. Bowe, author of "Mulberry: The Material Culture of Mulberry Trees"
"[Coming] from a unique and considerable amount of both primary and secondary research . . . [Mulberry] is an incredibly comprehensive monograph or study. . . . This is a book which succeeds on every level, being accessible and also sophisticated."
Susan Whitfield, historian and author of "Silk, Slaves and Stupas"
"A beguiling book full of fascinating and wide-ranging information about this globetrotting family of trees. This well-researched and aptly illustrated book honors the mulberry tree's many roles in human history—beyond that of providing fodder for the voracious silkworm—from medicine, music, to myth. A most enjoyable and informative read."
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