Black Gold

Antony Wild

Arguably the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world after oil, coffee’s dark five-hundred year history links alchemy and anthropology, poetry and politics, and science and slavery. Revolutions have been hatched in coffee houses, secret socities and commercial alliances formed, and politics and art endlessly debated. With over a hundred million people looking to it for their livelihood, the coffee industry is now the world’s largest employer and the financial lifeblood of many third-world countries (or the blood with which they feed the global capitalist vampire, depending on your point of view). But with world prices at a historic low, the future looks uncertain. In this thought-provoking exposé, Antony Wild, coffee trader and historian, explores coffee’s dismal colonial past and its perilous corporate present, revealing the shocking exploitation at the heart of the industry. To many people, coffee has become largely just another commodity. Black Gold restores our faith in the mystery of this unique beverage.

Reviews of Black Gold

  • ‘an aromatic blend of colonial history and globalisation criticism’ Ecologist

    ‘an impressive mix of historical overview and contemporary analysis’ Time Out

    ‘Perfect ammo for destroying your Starbucks-guzzling workmates’ Arena

    ‘an elegantly written, witty book, so wide in scope, so rich in detail, so thought-provoking in the subtle way that it develops its central thesis, that it is a challenge to do justice to it’ Joanna Blythman

    ‘This adrenalised swipe through the story of the mightiest of elixirs is written by a genius with all the economic facts and figures at his fingertips’ Good Book Guide

    ‘full of fascinating anecdotal detail about our favourite stimulant’ Geographical