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The Book of Pears

The Definitive History and Guide to Over 500 Varieties

Although apples may have won the battle for modern-day supermarket shelf space, throughout history the pear has usually ranked even higher in the hearts of fruit enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Cherries, plums, peaches, and many other fruits are also wonderful in their season, but the pear at its finest can be so much more exceptional in terms of its luscious texture, richness of taste, and its fragrances reminiscent of rose water, musk, and vanilla.

The Book of Pears is a one-of-a-kind guide to this extraordinary fruit, following its journey through history and around the world, accompanied by beautiful botanical watercolor paintings and period images. Noted pomologist and fruit historian Joan Morgan (The Book of Apples) has researched and crafted the definitive account of the pear’s history and uses, from fresh eating to cooking and baking to making perry, the delicate and sophisticated pear equivalent of cider.

Featuring a directory of 500 varieties of both ancient and modern pears with tasting notes and descriptions for every one, The Book of Pears reveals the secrets of the pear as a status symbol, introduces readers to some of the most celebrated fruit growers in history, and explains how the pear came to be so important as an international commodity. This unique and fascinating book will prove indispensable for historians, horticulturists, and all fruit lovers.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Choice-

"This comprehensive, highly specialized work discusses everything one might want to know about pears. The first section contains a complete history of the fruit, including about 90 reproductions of historic images featuring the pear. The following section is a directory documenting all pear varieties in the Defra National Fruit Collection in Kent, England, featuring well over 500 kinds, along with complete descriptions, season, use, tasting notes, and cultivation information. Artist Dowle, an extremely talented illustrator of fruit who earlier collaborated with pomologist Morgan on the Book of Apples (1993), presents 40 precise color illustrations of pear flowers, fruit, and branches. Their evident love for the pear yields a gorgeous volume. The detailed history could use additional editing, but it covers the subject in eight well-documented chapters. A key to pear identification and short essays on cooking and growing pears complete the volume. Due to its focus on the Defra collection, the work will appeal primarily to the clientele of specialized horticultural and art libraries. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty; horticulturalists.

Booklist-

"Who knew? This elegant, all-knowing compendium on all things pear is a boon companion to pomologist and fruit historian Morgan’s The Book of Apples (1994), among other fruit-centered histories. It’s truly intended as a reference, even for those culinarians intent on mastering the best information on pears. Much of the narrative traces the fruit’s transit from 1000 BC in the Yangtze Valley to today’s world distribution, documenting its role in various lands and in literature. In addition to Dowle’s realistic and detailed watercolors, innumerable historic photographs and illustrations grace the book’s pages. One-third of the book is occupied by a catalog of 500-plus varieties, from the former USSR’s Abas Beki to a French Zoe, based on the Defra National Fruit Collection, in Kent, with each entry including the cropping level, when-to-pick ripening season, vigor, use (culinary versus eating), size, shape, color, eye, basin, stalk, cavity, flesh, flower, and tree. A thorough investigation of one wonderful fruit.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joan Morgan

Joan Morgan PhD is a pomologist and fruit historian, internationally renowned for her work on apples. In recognition of her work, Joan has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Vetch Memorial Medal (for contributions to the advancement of the 'science and practice of horticulture'), she is one of only 50 recipients of the Institute of Horticulture 'Award for Outstanding Services to Horticulture' and is an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers. She is Chairman of the RHS Fruit Trials Forum and Vice Chairman of the RHS Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee.

Joan Morgan is the author, with Alison Richards, of The Book of Apples, The New Book of Apples, A Paradise out of a Common Field: the pleasures and plenty of the Victorian garden, and a main contributor to The Downright Epicure, Essays on Edward Bunyard. 

She has devoted many years researching and compiling The Book of Pears.

CONNECT WITH THIS AUTHOR

The Book of Pears Website
Complete Photo Gallery of The Book of Pears
Joan Morgan's Website

The Book of Pears

Pages:304 pages
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603586665
Pub. Date October 19, 2015

Available In/Retail Price

Hardcover, 304 pages, $65.00