Cover Image: Oceans of Grain

Oceans of Grain

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Member Reviews

‘Oceans of Grain’ can be considered an interpretation of history through the bonds of the wheat trade on many important events, mainly in Europe and the United States during the last centuries up to WWI. We all know wheat is an important commodity in our daily lives, but it is money too: ‘loans, futures and options’. The essay points out at the implications of innovation in transportation (nitroglycerine, steam boats, sail boats, ...)  in the global economy, the significance of geography, and the disruption of previous markets and the consequences in society.  To sum up, it is a thought-provoking account. 

Honestly, I am a layperson in terms of History. And even though I cannot analyze or compare in depth the historical facts presented, generally speaking this reinterpretation of history has been an informative reading to me, maybe biased, especially at the ending conclusions, but interesting. 

About the audiobook, the narrator, Jason Arnold, is very professional. Good intonation and pace, and a very agreeable voice.

Finally, I would recommend reading the audiobook in combination with its book format due to the huge amount of data.

Thank you to Scott Reynolds Nelson, NetGalley and OrangeSky Audio for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This was an interesting book that looks at the importance of wheat and its role in historical events, especially in relation to world conflict.

While the author makes many good points and connections, I did feel like they were sometimes intentionally blind to other elements that were relevant, if not more relevant.

I also feel that the subtitle 'How American Wheat Remade the World' is a strange choice given how little influence American wheat has had in relation to the grand scale of history. 

I thought this book would be heavily focused on American wheat and the American wheat industry but it has a greater focus on Russian and European wheat.

The narration was good but the book doesn't lend itself well to being an audiobook due to the amount of statistics and numbers involved in several sections.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for giving me a free digital copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review.
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3⭐️. This book is full of information, but not what I thought it would be about based on the title. It was all over the place, with a big focus on Parvus and the Russian Revolution. Coming from a long line of American farmers, I was expecting something anecdotal, so I was the wrong audience. Thanks to @orangeskyaudio for the ARC.
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I’m so grateful that I got to read this text. I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to making some videos for my TIkTok and other social media channels to recommend it to my friends and followers. It was an excellent read! 5/5 stars. I’m going to write a longer and more detailed review on my Goodreads and TikTok and I will link back once I’ve posted.
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A very interesting interpretation of the value of grain to historical power. It truly was worth listening to and presents a solid case for its claim. However, it was very dry and had a lot of numbers read out at times. This book might be better read than listened to. The narrator Jason Arnold was a good choice.
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This book gives a history of Europe. Asia, and the United States as told from the point of view of wheat and bread. It uses the growing, transportation, storage, and distribution of wheat as the underlying cause for just about all the major events in world history. The author has a point: if cities can't feed their populations then nothing else really matters.

I thought his use of ancient myths as stories for ways to preserve and store wheat were very interesting and it made me look at other stories in a new light. I also enjoyed the parts on the development of milling machinery. While not directly related to his main narrative, how wheat was made into flour is important to the story. This book was written in 2021. The author correctly predicts Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Feb of 2022. I wonder if it was really for the reasons he stated.

Besides the world history, there was a lot of economics in the book, much of which was over my head. This is not a book for lay readers/listeners, but rather for someone who has knowledge of world history and is versed in economics. They will find it more enjoyable.

I also don't think the subtitle, How American Wheat Remade the World, is fitting: there wasn't much in here about American wheat. In the grand scheme of world history, America is very new, but with a subtitle like that I expected American wheat to have a bigger  role. Maybe something more like Oceans of Grain: How Wheat Shaped World History.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. I'm glad I had the opportunity to listen to it.
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