Rice today is food to half the world's population. Its history is inextricably entangled with the emergence of colonialism, the global networks of industrial capitalism, and the modern world economy. The history of rice is currently a vital and innovative field of research attracting serious attention, but no attempt has yet been made to write a history of rice and its place in the rise of capitalism from a global and comparative perspective. Rice is a first step toward such a history. The fifteen chapters, written by specialists on Africa, the Americas, and several regions of Asia, are premised on the utility of a truly international approach to history. Each one brings a new approach that unsettles prevailing narratives and suggests new connections. Together they cast new light on the significant roles of rice as crop, food, and commodity and shape historical trajectories and interregional linkages in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia.