"In his thoroughly entertaining and elaborately illustrated cultural history of orchards, Bernd Brunner paints an impressive panorama stretching from early civilizations through the Middle Ages and the modern period up to the present day… He vividly describes the art of “taming fruit” as it continuously evolved throughout human history."
Stefan Rebenich, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"You don't even have to have climbed a cherry tree as a child to understand why even Nietzsche - exhausted by migraine attacks - took refuge under orange and olive trees to recover. During the instructive reading of this beautifully illustrated volume, one wonders why one did not think about fruit cultivation before."
Hella Kemper, Die Zeit
"An extraordinarily versatile book. ... In 18 chapters, the author lays out the wide-ranging material on the subject. … The focus of the individual essays is either on the benefits of the fruits for our hunger or on the aesthetic side: on the enjoyment with all senses - and that with examples from all continents of the earth."
Jürgen Alberti, Spektrum (German edition of Scientific American)
"Did you know that fruit played a critical role in evolution? … Bernd Brunner’s lovingly detailed book is full of astounding facts like this. As a result, his ‘cultural history of orchards’ reads nothing like a tame reference book for garden fans - at some points it’s almost like a thriller."
Brigitte (popular women's magazine)
"Visualize exploring an Edenic garden, picking cherries from one tree, apples from another, oranges from a third. Nature writer Brunner has created an art-filled book that evokes such luxuriance, satisfying to both the mind and the senses. ... Like a formal garden, Brunner’s book is plotted with a clear guiding intelligence. The early chapters focus on the fruits of the Mediterranean world, where the earliest cultivation of figs, dates, and olives may have taken place. Then, drawing on a wealth of information from antiquarian books, he takes us through the monastery gardens of medieval Europe, which provisioned abbey kitchens and offered a space where meditative brothers could, according to a sixth century account, “sit in the shade of its trees while their leaves whispered in the wind."
Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History Magazine
"There are wonderful books on British orchards,... but I enjoyed Brunner’s book because it pulls back the focus to tell the history of fruit-growing in many other parts of the world..."
Ursula Buchan, The Spectator
"Bernd Brunner’s rather superb new book, Taming Fruit, offers a truly panoramic overview of humanity’s relationship with fruit and fruit-growing, spanning the eras from the dawn of recorded history to the present day and beyond. ... Taming Fruit also, I suspect (and hope), highlights a few additional areas of potential for in-depth exploration and future publication. Taming Fruit is an abundantly intriguing read, detailed without being exhausting, and thoroughly accessible throughout."
Darren Turpin, Orchard Notes
"[A] fact-packed treatise … Brunner moves chronologically from wild origins and godly gardens to present-day industrial farms, where economic and consumer demands have reduced fruit varieties and flavors while expanding size and shelf life. Along the way, he disperses plenty of cultivation and cultural knowledge."
"This rich combination of glorious illustrations with cultural history, botany, anthropology and personal anecdote will enthral and delight anyone curious about the origins of orchards and the fruit they bear."
Helena Attlee, author of The Land Where Lemons Grow: The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit (Penguin/Countryman) and Lev's Violin: An Italian Adventure (Particular Books/Pegasus)
"Taming Fruit is an enchanting journey through the world of orchards and botanical curiosities. We learn, among other things, about medieval orchards, picking cherries and apples, pomegranates and quinces. Brunner is a captivating guide, who gives us a remarkable menu of esoteric, and not so esoteric, botanical expertise. And we learn about sheep and orchard undergrowth into the bargain! Beautifully illustrated and written with infectious and cultured enthusiasm, anyone who is even a tentative gardener will cherish this lovely book."
Brian Fagan, author of The Intimate Bond (Bloomsbury)
"A beautiful exploration of the life-giving bonds between trees, fruits, and people. Brunner is an astute guide to the fascinating reciprocal relationships between orchards and human culture."
David George Haskell, author of Pulitzer finalist, The Forest Unseen, and Burroughs Medalist, The Songs of Trees (Penguin)
"Fruit was there at the beginning of the human story, Bernd Brunner argues in this crisply written and lushly illustrated book, and it’s been with us ever since—in birth and death, peace and war, art and myth, science and religion. Taming Fruit left me with the lingering urge to visit the grocery store and gaze at all of the fruits, stranger and more wonderful than I'd ever noticed."
Zach St. George, author of The Journeys of Trees (W. W. Norton)
"For all your fruit lovers, amateur and pro pomologists, and culinary historians. Stellar."
Simon Thibault, author of Pantry and Palate