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Scientific books

Garlic and Other Alliums, The Lore and the Science

‘This is a fascinating book written by an authority on the chemistry of the edible alliums, which include garlic, onions, leeks and chives. The book is well written and up-to-date. I can thoroughly recommend this book not just to natural product chemists but also to all those who have grown these plants in the garden…

‘This is a fascinating book written by an authority on the chemistry of the edible alliums, which include garlic, onions, leeks and chives. The book is well written and up-to-date. I can thoroughly recommend this book not just to natural product chemists but also to all those who have grown these plants in the garden or enjoyed eating them. It contains many anecdotes and quotations to enliven a chemist’s dinner party.’ (Chemistry World, February 2010) ‘What do garlic and onions have in common with gunpowder? A lot. Theyâre incendiary. They can do harm and they delight. Sulfur is central to their powers. And they helped inspire the work of a chemist who has just published a welcome treatise on the smelly yet indispensable allium family. Dr. Blockâs book may be the definitive word on the alliums for the moment, but as it and he make clear, there are new flavors to look forward to.’ (The New York Times, 7 June 2010) ‘This book by Eric Block is a synthesis of his four decades of distinguished work with alliums. His account of this ever-increasing knowledge is accessible and will even entertain readers without a deep knowledge of chemistry. Block may look at the world through garlic-tinged lenses, but in this book he is very good at getting readers to see it his way.’ (Chemistry & Industry, 8 February 2010) This unique book, with a foreword by 1990 Nobel Laureate E.J. Corey, outlines the extensive history and the fascinating past and present uses of these plants, sorting out fact from fiction based upon detailed scrutiny of historic documents as well as numerous laboratories studies. Readers will be entertained and educated as they learn about early cultivation of garlic and other alliums while being introduced to the chemistry and biochemistry. They will learn how alliums have been portrayed and used in literature, poetry, the arts and how alliums are featured in the world’s oldest cookbook. Technical material is presented in a manner understandable to a general audience, particularly through the use of illustrations to simplify more difficult concepts and explain how experimental work is conducted. The book is heavily illustrated with examples of alliums in art, literature, agriculture, medicine and other areas and includes rare botanical drawings of many members of the genus Allium.

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