Book cover of Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World by Scott Reynolds Nelsonby Scott Reynolds Nelson

A “incredibly timely” global history journeys from the Ukrainian steppe to the American prairie to show how grain built and toppled the world’s largest empires (Financial Times).

To understand the rise and fall of empires, we must follow the paths traveled by grain—along rivers, between ports, and across seas. In Oceans of Grain, historian Scott Reynolds Nelson reveals how the struggle to dominate these routes transformed the balance of world power.

Early in the nineteenth century, imperial Russia fed much of Europe through the booming port of Odessa, on the Black Sea in Ukraine. But following the US Civil War, tons of American wheat began to flood across the Atlantic, and food prices plummeted.

Interview with the Author

Podcast Art for the New Book NetworkNew Books Network 
Scott Reynolds Nelson, “Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World” (Basic Books, 2022)
5/23/22           71 min

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Scott Reynolds Nelson on How Cheap American Grain Toppled the World’s Largest Empires
2/26/22            34 min

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Episode 250: Amber Waves of Grain
2/21/22           70 min

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Oceans of Grain: Wheat, Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S.
3/1/22          53 min

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