In recent decades, research on environmental issues has drawn considerable attention from scholars working in various fields. Much of this attention stems from the remarkable harm that industrialization has wrought on ecological systems, including those in which human beings live. Scholars of Chinese history (e.g., Mark Elvin, Ts’ui-jung Liu, Robert B. Marks, Micah S. Muscolino, and Ling Zhang) have explored the richness of environmental issues in different periods of Chinese history.

Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China, written by E. N. Anderson, is perhaps the first book to incorporate the environmental perspective so broadly into research on Chinese food. For decades Anderson has studied Chinese food, and his published research includes The Food of China (1988) and Everyone Eats: Understanding Food and Culture (2005).

In Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China, Anderson applies environmental...

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