Commodity histories have witnessed a boom in recent decades due to their subjects' analytical malleability and crossover popular appeal. The “social life” of a thing encompasses production, exchange, and consumption, use and meaning, value and hierarchy, opening up vast possibilities for historians investigating human behavior over time. Yet the monographs themselves are also commodities, reflecting shifting historiographical trends in scholarly production and consumption and their authors' multidisciplinary influences. Julia J. S. Sarreal's far-ranging account of Argentines' popular caffeinated beverage and marker of national identity spotlights yerba mate's fascinating trajectory from forest to farm and table, and from the nation's frontier (and neighboring Paraguay and Brazil) to its metropoles. Stretching from pre-Columbian to contemporary times, drawing on archives in Argentina, Paraguay, and Spain, and ranging over vast stretches of geographic, historical, and thematic terrain, this impressive study, like many valued commodities, is the product of painstaking labor.

Although now the world's...

You do not currently have access to this content.