Perfumed, sweet, succulent, cooling; a ripe melon can be one of the most delicious of fruits. Sylvia Lovegren untangles the melon's long and complex history and follows the journeys of the varied fruits known as melons from the sandy wastes of the Kalahari Desert, to the ancient kingdom of Ur in Mesopotamia, to the exotic oases of the Silk Road, and on to Jesuit outposts in Upper Canada, slave plantations in Brazil, Pueblo Indian gardens in the American southwest, and to the farmers in Japan who produce luscious and expensive square melons grown in glass boxes. While melons are appreciated for their healthfulness today, in the past this alluring fruit was often feared as an enticing but deadly menace. This book explores the reasons for the varied reactions to melons across the globe and through history, and the fascinating story is rounded out with folk tales, humorous stories, contests and cultural artefacts inspired by melons. Melon also looks at the attempts by scientists and growers to preserve or even genetically revive ancient melon strains while improving the modern melons that come to the market and our tables.Richly illustrated and illuminated with ancient, medieval and modern recipes, Melon is a delightful look at the surprising history of one of the world's most complex and delicious fruits.