Well, well, it took a while -- actually about twenty years -- but finally Penguin did the obvious thing and reissued Professor John Yudkin's absolutely classic study of sugar: Pure, White and Deadly. This book has been out of print for many a long year, and when you could find it the price was usually in three figures. A few years ago I had to borrow a copy from my local library's county archive.
The new edition comes with an introduction by Professor Robert Lustig, who was probably the guy that twisted Penguin's arm. I'd like to think that Penguin were smart enough to launch a reissue unprompted, but then why did they ever let an important book like this go out of print in the first place? (There's no polite or reassuring answer to that question.)
Fat Chance, and it looks like a brave book to write, because it dares to criticise the food industry. Yudkin tried that, and got nothing but trouble as a result. He should, of course, have been supported by his university, but wasn't, which is a disgraceful story in itself.
The fact that sugar is the source of half our health problems is not new. The journalist William Dufty wrote a classic expose of it in the 1970s, in Sugar Blues, which is still in print. But scientists who are prepared to put their head above the parapet and let Big Food fire cannon at them are not thick on the ground.
If by any chance you haven't yet realised what pernicious stuff sugar is, and how determinedly it is forced upon us in almost everything, then Lustig's new book is the one to go for. Those of us who've been paying any attention to food in the last 40 years probably won't learn a lot that's new -- except of course that we shall be given a host of new examples of how little the food companies care about their customers' health, and how committed they are to making profit no matter what.