A deeply researched and eye-opening history that shows how Monsanto came to have outsized influence over our food system.
This is the definitive history of Monsanto, a St. Louis chemical firm that became the world’s largest genetically engineered seed enterprise. Monsanto merged with German pharma-biotech giant Bayer in 2018 but its Roundup Ready seeds, introduced twenty-five years ago, are still reshaping the farms that feed us. Incorporating global fieldwork, interviews with company employees, and untapped corporate and government records, award-winning historian Bartow J. Elmore traces Monsanto’s astounding evolution from a scrappy chemical startup to a global agrobusiness powerhouse.
Capitalising on deals with customers like Coca-Cola, General Electric and especially the US government, Monsanto used seed money derived from toxic products—including PCBs and Agent Orange—to build an agricultural empire, promising endless bounty through its genetically engineered technology. As new data emerges about its blockbuster Roundup system, and as Bayer faces a tide of lawsuits over Monsanto products past and present, Elmore’s urgent history takes a penetrating look at the company’s past.