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Sometime around 1500 A.D., an African farmer planted a maize seed imported from the New World. That act set in motion the remarkable saga of one of the world's most influential crops--one that would transform the future of Africa and of the Atlantic world. The recent spread of maize has been alarmingly fast, with implications largely overlooked by the media and policymakers. McCann's compelling history offers insight into the profound influence of a single crop on African culture, health, technological innovation, and the future of the world's food supply.