Richard Graham’s most recent monograph stems from a basic yet powerful truth about urban life: “No city feeds itself.” Through his minute examination of the food trade in Salvador da Bahia on Brazil’s northeastern coast, Graham embarks on a study of a major South Atlantic port city “where Europe met Africa in the Americas” (p. 1). The book spans the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth, a period of both gradual change and revolutionary transformation. Urban cultural, social, or economic history perforce involves some discussion of the food trade; street vendors, shopkeepers, and commodities merchants make regular appearances in the growing literature on the history of the city in Latin America. Feeding the City is unique, however, in its tight focus on food, exhaustively exploring its consumption, culture, harvesting, herding, selling, financing, and transporting. Graham shows how the radical commodification of food conditions...

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