The Fortunes of Taste
Routledge – 2004 – 208 pages
In Chewing Gum, Michael Redclift deftly chronicles the growing popularity of gum in the U.S. alongside a fascinating history of peasant revolution led by charismatic Indians in the jungles of southern Mexico.
"A scholarly work, 'Chewing Gum-The Fortunes of Taste' makes a solid case for gum's pre-eminence in the realm of mass consumption and popular taste. Even in today's multitasking society-where workers find little time to break away from one job or another or another-gum still has a vital role to play."
-- Santa Cruz Sentinel
"…A well-rounded overview of the history of chicle-based chewing gum, and it provides unique insights into globalization and mass marketing… a fascinating glimpse of an overlooked cultural phenomena." -- Rochelle Caviness, History in Review
"In Chewing Gum: The Fortunes of Taste, author Michael Redclift investigates the history of chewing gum and its impact on peasant revolutions in Mexico, where the production of chicle fueled a decades-long conflict between the Mayan Indians and the Mexican government. Beginning with the chance meeting between three-time Mexican president and Alamo victor General Santa Ana and an American inventor who, at first, sought to make rubber tires from the chicle, the book goes on to chronicle the "functionally useless" product, which made people millionaires and held a lasting influence on Mexican-American relations and culture today.
." -- History Magazine
"…Chewing Gum: The Fortunes of Taste is a stunning accomplishment, linking seemingly trivial details together into a web that shows us just how interconnected the world really is.
." -- Dennis Chute, The Edmonton Journal
"But what may interest readers most in this book is Redclift's presentation of chewing gum as a commercial product." -- Winterthur Portfolio
' Redclift deploys a rewarding interdisciplinary and international historical approach… This pioneering study of a commodity that is often overlooked or even resented as crude and messy is a compelling and engrossing case study of not only the contested, but also the perverse, nature of globalisation… it would serve wonderfully courses on world history, commodity chains and food.' - Latin American Studies
Michael Redclift, a leading scholar in ecology and social theory, is a professor of geography at King's College, London. He is author or editor of fifteen books, including Sustainable Development and Wasted.