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History 605: S2, Ep6 'Oceans of Grain'

Public Domain

What prompts revolution and calamity?

A sudden and sharp rise in grain prices, claims historian Scott Nelson, the UGA Athletics Association Professor of the Humanities at the University of Georgia.

Nelson chatted with us about his book, Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World. His wonderfully well-written book describes the conditions and the people that sparked the French, Russian,  and Industrial Revolutions.

The book also describes how Civil War army contracting and subsequent financial practices, the railroads, the telegraph, and nitroglycerin made American wheat more attractive than Russian wheat to people around the globe.

We also learn why far-flung cities like Odessa matter to grain producers in the northern plains.

For a copy of the book, click here.