The best books about sugar 📚

Browse the best books on sugar as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History

Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History

By Sidney W. Mintz

Why this book?

Sweetness and Power is a classic in world foodways, and still holds up against any book for its depth and complexity as a work of fascinating social history, anthropology, and commodity history. Although its main subject is the global trade and symbolism of sugar, I include it here because sugar makes molasses and molasses makes rum, and all three items were part of the original “triangular trade” connecting early colonial power networks of North America, Europe, and Africa. Mintz is particularly good at analyzing early images of sugar in their cultural contexts. (If you haven’t seen the elaborate “sugarwork” on…

From the list:

The books books on the history of booze

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados

A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados

By Richard Ligon

Why this book?

If you want to know exactly what things looked like and what living in Barbados felt like in the 17th century, this is the book. Originally published in 1657, this is like a travelogue of the Island that became a prosperous English colony known for its sugar plantations, rum, and slave trade. Ligon was a royalist in exile during the English civil war.

From the list:

The best books about the West Indies sugar and slave trade in the 17th century

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The French Sugar Business in the Eighteenth Century

The French Sugar Business in the Eighteenth Century

By Robert Louis Stein

Why this book?

This book offers a lucid and very accessible study of the nuts and bolts of the eighteenth-century French sugar business. Readers get a clear understanding of the key aspects of the enterprise that made France the main sugar exporter in the world – from how it was financed, to how it relied on African slave labor, to its cultivation in the Caribbean sugar plantations. It also offers one of the best discussions of the local French domestic industries involved in the sugar business.

From the list:

The best books on France and Its eighteenth-century colonial empire

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713

Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713

By Richard S. Dunn

Why this book?

My copy is loaded with underlines, dogears, and stickies to signify the wealth of information provided, particularly on the West Indies slave trade. From the geography of the islands to architecture, planting schedules, clothing fabrics, political corruption, and the slave market, Dunn covers everything in an interesting and illuminating way.

From the list:

The best books about the West Indies sugar and slave trade in the 17th century

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Sugar Barons

Sugar Barons

By Matthew Parker

Why this book?

For perhaps 200 years after 1650, sugar became such a valuable commodity it became known as “white gold.” This book gives the broad and sweeping history of the conflicts over control of the sugar trade, the slave trade, and the wealth that ultimately led to the Industrial Revolution. It also provides intimate details of the families whose fortunes depended on sugar.

From the list:

The best books about the West Indies sugar and slave trade in the 17th century

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Naturally Sweet Food in Jars: 100 Preserves Made with Coconut, Maple, Honey, and More

Naturally Sweet Food in Jars: 100 Preserves Made with Coconut, Maple, Honey, and More

By Marisa McClellan

Why this book?

As a lover of preserving the abundance of produce from my orchard and garden, this book has proved to be just what I was looking for: LESS SUGAR! It is ideally suited to the health conscious preserver who enjoys inventive and interesting recipes. Cleverly organised by sweetener: coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, dried fruits, juices, agave, it’s a fantastic mix of interesting flavour combinations, manageable batches, and awareness of the seasons.

From the list:

The best books about conscious plant-based cookery

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 9 books about sugar

New book lists about sugar

All book lists about sugar

Bookshelves related to sugar

Browse books by…