Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: Cotton – The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber

A thousand years ago cotton clothes were the visible differentiation between a civilized man and a nomad. Even today, practically everyone on earth are wearing cotton or using something made out of it. This crop was domesticated first in Asia, Africa and South America and took its prominent place in the journey of human civilization.

Cotton textiles were the major export of Indus valley civilization and were exchanged for grains, spices and other goods. An English traveler called the cotton plant a “Vegetable Lamb”. Traders and travelers spread the usage of cotton and made it a valuable crop. Cotton processing mills were at the center of industrial revolution. Mahatma Gandhi’s cotton spinning wheel became a political symbol in India. In a way, biography of cotton is a reflection of human evolution. So the biography of cotton cuts across centuries and circles around the globe.

Author Stephen Yafa has done extensive research of tracking the history of cotton, its evolution and adoption. He provides lots of insights and reveals fascinating facts to the reader making the biography of cotton no less interesting than the biography of human beings.