Humans have always had a special appreciation for fruit that grows on trees. Could it be because orchard fruits grow closer to heaven than other plant products do? Or could it be because the places where these fruits grew were full of the interplay between light and shadow, the air was redolent with the sweet scent of blossom, and here we could retreat from the cares of daily life? Where did the types of fruits we grow in orchards come from and how did they develop? Bernd Brunner set out to find out how the search for desirable fruit has shaped us, and how we have shaped fruit by selecting those that appeal most to our senses of taste and delight.
"Visualize exploring an Edenic garden, picking cherries from one tree, apples from another, oranges from a third. Nature writer Brunner has created an art-filled book that evokes such luxuriance, satisfying to both the mind and the senses. ... Like a formal garden, Brunner’s book is plotted with a clear guiding intelligence. The early chapters focus on the fruits of the Mediterranean world, where the earliest cultivation of figs, dates, and olives may have taken place. Then, drawing on a wealth of information from antiquarian books, he takes us through the monastery gardens of medieval Europe, which provisioned abbey kitchens and offered a space where meditative brothers could, according to a sixth century account, “sit in the shade of its trees while their leaves whispered in the wind."
Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History Magazine
"There are wonderful books on British orchards,... but I enjoyed Brunner’s book because it pulls back the focus to tell the history of fruit-growing in many other parts of the world..."
Ursula Buchan, The Spectator
"Taming fruit by Bernd Brunner invites us to look more closely at the fruit and nut trees that for thousands of years have provided much-needed variety in our diet and given us reasons to be cheerful. As with other plants or plant products, it can be argued – as Brunner so successfully does – that fruit and fruit trees have an inextricable link with humanity. The many dimensions of that ancient association are explored in this delightful book. Taming fruit is a celebration of all things orchardic, and is a great addition to the plants-and-people literature."
Nigel Chaffey, Botany One
"In an exploration that’s both captivating and scientific, Brunner explores the history of orchards around the world, filled with fruits such as apples, pears, quinces, plums, cherries, dates and almonds, and how they’ve helped establish our ever-evolving tastes."
Shelby Vittek, Modern Farming
"Bernd Brunner’s rather superb new book, Taming Fruit, offers a truly panoramic overview of humanity’s relationship with fruit and fruit-growing, spanning the eras from the dawn of recorded history to the present day and beyond. ... Taming Fruit also, I suspect (and hope), highlights a few additional areas of potential for in-depth exploration and future publication. Taming Fruit is an abundantly intriguing read, detailed without being exhausting, and thoroughly accessible throughout."
Darren Turpin, Orchard Notes
"[A] fact-packed treatise … Brunner moves chronologically from wild origins and godly gardens to present-day industrial farms, where economic and consumer demands have reduced fruit varieties and flavors while expanding size and shelf life. Along the way, he disperses plenty of cultivation and cultural knowledge."
"This rich combination of glorious illustrations with cultural history, botany, anthropology and personal anecdote will enthral and delight anyone curious about the origins of orchards and the fruit they bear."
Helena Attlee, author of The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit (Penguin/Countryman) and Lev's Violin: An Italian Adventure (Particular Books/Pegasus)
"Taming Fruit is an enchanting journey through the world of orchards and botanical curiosities. We learn, among other things, about medieval orchards, picking cherries and apples, pomegranates and quinces. Brunner is a captivating guide, who gives us a remarkable menu of esoteric, and not so esoteric, botanical expertise. And we learn about sheep and orchard undergrowth into the bargain! Beautifully illustrated and written with infectious and cultured enthusiasm, anyone who is even a tentative gardener will cherish this lovely book."
Brian Fagan, author of The Intimate Bond (Bloomsbury)
"A beautiful exploration of the life-giving bonds between trees, fruits, and people. Brunner is an astute guide to the fascinating reciprocal relationships between orchards and human culture."
David George Haskell, author of Pulitzer finalist, The Forest Unseen, and Burroughs Medalist, The Songs of Trees (Penguin)
"Fruit was there at the beginning of the human story, Bernd Brunner argues in this crisply written and lushly illustrated book, and it’s been with us ever since—in birth and death, peace and war, art and myth, science and religion. Taming Fruit left me with the lingering urge to visit the grocery store and gaze at all of the fruits, stranger and more wonderful than I'd ever noticed."
Zach St. George, author of The Journeys of Trees (W. W. Norton)
Canada/USA/UK: Greystone Books
Germany: Knesebeck Verlag
China: Yilin Press
Taiwan: Faces Publications, a division of Cite
Spain: Libros del Jata