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Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding
by Noel Kingsbury
Copyright © 2009 The University of Chicago Press
Published by The University of Chicago Press


“The reason you and billions of other people will eat today is a century-long effort to increase the yield of crop plants. Hybrid tells the story of the quiet heroes behind this triumph. Noel Kingsbury has written a fantastic history of a subject that should become much better known.”

Gregg Easterbrook
Author of Sonic Boom

“A magnificent achievement—Kingsbury tells this gripping story, with a large cast of characters across the entire span of human civilization, with wit, passion, and erudition.”

Tim Richardson
Author of The Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden

“Thoughtful, well researched and refreshingly broad in scope, Noel Kingsbury’s Hybrid took me out of my immediate area of expertise (plants and garden history) and opened my eyes to the way previously unsung plant breeders have transformed societies. It should be essential reading for anyone wishing to take an informed view on the future direction of biotechnology.”

Jennifer Potter
Author of Strange Blooms: The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants

“This unique book is a veritable potpourri of information about how and why people cultivate plants. It is an engaging and eclectic mixture of homely anecdote and clearly presented scientific fact written in discursive style that particularly suits the general reader. Indeed, one of strengths of Hybrid is that it can be opened and browsed at almost any chapter without needing to read preceding chapters. Kingsbury takes an accessible and popular approach to agriculture and its often fascinating personalities, but his book also has something of a sting in its tail. For it also gives us a very clear and serious message that the scientific progress that has allowed us to feed a rapidly growing global population since the nineteenth century is now threatened by modern versions of obscurantist and anti-science sentiment. Our civilization and culture are built on agriculture, and in these uncertain times of climate change and increased pressure on food production, we will need all the tools available just to maintain supplies. Hybrid does a sterling job of bringing these key issues to a wide audience.”

Denis J. Murphy
Author of People, Plants, and Genes: The Story of Crops and Humanity

“In Hybrid we learn that there was a green revolution in eleventh century China when a visionary emperor imported new strains of rice from Indochina; how working men in nineteenth-century Britain made a sport of competitive gooseberry breeding, and how a German doctor discovered hybrid vigor in plants. Hybrid the book displays, like hybrids themselves, all the marvelous fruit of miscellany.”

Jonathan Silvertown
Author of An Orchard Invisible: A Natural History of Seeds


 Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding is copyright © 2009 The University of Chicago Press
Published by The University of Chicago Press
All rights reserved

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