The History of Sweets by Paul Chrystal

The History of Sweets by Paul Chrystal* is the second book I read by this author. The first one was Rowntree’s, reviewed last month. I loved that one and I loved this book too. There are some parts overlapping, as expected, but it didn’t bother me at all, I actually liked reading again some snippets.

The History of Sweets by Paul Chrystal

This is a good book for so many reasons. First of all, it is a presentation of the history of sweets that includes all sort of details, including what was used thousands of years ago, which is very interesting. He gives details on sweets from around the world, from Japan to Scotland. Chocolate has a special place in the book, as one can easily imagine.

I was very intrigued by how many sweets are made in UK. He also talks about advertising and marketing. I was prepared to read about slavery, but I did not expect for him to tackle modern-day slavery and point the finger at Cadbury and the still existing child labour within their supply chain. I applaud him for this. At one point he mentions that many cocoa growers never tasted chocolate in their lives… and that happened in the 18th century and is, again, happening today. It is appalling that we have, as a society, so little care for how our food is sourced that thousands of people work their whole lives without knowing what the fuss about chocolate is all about. Thus I use the most powerful and sophisticated weapon I have at my disposal: my money; I buy only fair-trade and vegan chocolate and cocoa, and I pay attention to the sustainability of the palm oil too.

Chrystal touches on the health aspects too, from food adulteration to problems with obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes. But this is not a book about the dark parts, they only make a part of the story, as they should. Most of the book is about the great things about sweets, differences between cultures, how sweets evolved through time. It contains some funny details, such as a dentist who invented a particular type of sweet, I am not giving more details because I don’t want to give out spoilers.
The book is well worth reading, it is entertaining and informative at the same time.

The History of Sweets by Paul Chrystal

Details about the picture: a cold-chocolate because it is too hot for a hot chocolate
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen and Sword History
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History
Pages: 242

About the author: Paul Chrystal attended the Universities of Hull and Southampton where he took degrees in Classics. For the next thirty-five years he worked in medical publishing, much of the time as an international sales director for one market or another while latterly creating medical educational programmes for the pharmaceutical industry. He worked for companies such as Churchill Livingstone, Wiley-Blackwell, CRC Press, Academic Press and Elsevier.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of Rowntree’s by Paul Chrystal for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



6 thoughts on “The History of Sweets by Paul Chrystal”

  • Oooh !! This sounds so interesting! Might have to try and order it from the library! I’m not a huge non-fiction reader but this type of thing intrigues me!
    Kezzie recently posted…Squirrel shoesMy Profile

  • I remember reading your review about Rowntree’s, and admire your passion for the subject. I agree, Fair trade food, where possible, is the future. This sounds like an intriguing little book.

  • This sounds like a really good book! I’ll have to see what my options are for reading it. Does it have lots of photos? (color?) That might make it worth getting in “real” book form.

    I know I’m not as careful as I should be, but I often try to pay attention to Fair Trade and sustainability factors when making purchases… especially with coffee and chocolate
    Kelly recently posted…Fourth of July, 2021My Profile

    • It has pictures, quite a few of them, in colour. 🙂
      I have a “list” of foods I check: coffee and chocolate, palm oil, cashew. With these, I check the brands and keep buying the same ones again and again. It makes my life easier.

  • I may just have to add this one to my list, as you have so intrigued me about the sweet the dentist invented, I can’t think which one it might be! ________________ Ah! now I see the irony of it. I couldn’t wait to read the book, so wondered if anything would come up on Google! I had assumed it would be a sweet which would actually either save your teeth, or be so horrible that you might be put off sweets for life _________ But no! A marketing strategy indeed, how clever, but also rather unethical surely!! I will never look at my dentist in quite the same way again. ___________ This book would be a great piece of social history and a real trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • There are some pretty unusual facts in this book, this is why I loved it so much. I received it on Monday and I finished it yesterday. 🙂

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