Years ago two books were published which have become classics on the subject of spice and its place in world trade, -- Agnes D. Hewes, Spice Hol and Spice and the Devil's Cave (Knopf). Here is a non-fiction title which contributes, in greater detail, historical data and true adventure specifically connected with the pepper trade out of Salem to Sumatra, Java, Japan. Unfortunately, the author starts out with a rather solemn and ponderous analysis of the opening up of American commerce, factual details which- to my thinking- would go down better if the adventure aspects had been used first to capture attention. For there's lots of true adventure here, -- pirates, sea battles, exploration, shipwreck, storm, wars, and so on. An important slice of the history of American commerce, but it wont be read without some impetus from adults.