- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group; Reprint edition (28 August 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143038583
- ISBN-13: 978-0143038580
- Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.5 x 21.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 422 g
- Customer Reviews: 1,225 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Paperback – 28 August 2007
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in the postwar era."--The New York Times "[Pollan] wants us at least to know what it is we are eating, where it came from and how it got to our table. He also wants us to be aware of the choices we make and to take responsibility for them. It's an admirable goal, well met in The Omnivore's Dilemma."--The Wall Street Journal "A gripping delight...This is a brilliant, revolutionary book with huge implications for our future and a must-read for everyone. And I do mean everyone."--The Austin Chronicle "As lyrical as What to Eat is hard-hitting, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma A Natural History of Four Meals...may be the best single book I read this year. This magisterial work, whose subject is nothing less than our own omnivorous (i.e., eating everything) humanity, is organized around two plants and one ecosystem. Pollan has a love-hate relationship with 'Corn, ' the wildly successful plant that has found its way into meat (as feed), corn syrup and virtually every other type of processed food. American agribusiness' monoculture of corn has shoved aside the old pastoral ideal of 'Grass, ' and the self-sustaining, diversified farm based on the grass-eating livestock. In 'The Forest, ' Pollan ponders the earliest forms of obtaining food: hunting and gathering. If you eat, you should read this book."--Newsday "Smart, insightful, funny and often profound."--USA Today "The Omnivore's Dilemma is an ambitious and thoroughly enjoyable, if sometimes unsettling, attempt to peer over these walls, to bring us closer to a true understanding of what we eat--and, by extension, what we should eat.... It is interested not only in how the consumed affects the consumer, but in how we consumers affect what we consume as well.... Entertaining and memorable. Readers of this intelligent and admirable book will almost certainly find their capacity to delight in food augmented rather than diminished."--San Francisco Chronicle
"On the long trip from the soil to our mouths, a trip of 1,500 miles on average, the food we eat often passes through places most of us will never see. Michael Pollan has spent much of the last five years visiting these places on our behalf."--Salon.com "The author of Second Nature and The Botany of Desire, Pollan is willing to go to some lengths to reconnect with what he eats, even if that means putting in a hard week on an organic farm and slitting the throats of chickens. He's not Paris Hilton on The Simple Life."--Time "A pleasure to read."--The Baltimore Sun "A fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again.... Pollan isn't preachy; he's too thoughtful a writer and too dogged a researcher to let ideology take over. He's also funny and adventurous."--Publishers Weekly
"[Pollan] does everything from buying his own cow to helping with the open-air slaughter of pasture-raised chickens to hunting morels in Northern California. This is not a man who's afraid of getting his hands dirty in the quest for better understanding. Along with wonderfully descriptive writing and truly engaging stories and characters, there is a full helping of serious information on the way modern food is produced."--BookPage "The Omnivore's Dilemma is about something that affects everyone."--The Sacramento Bee "Lively and thought-provoking."--East Bay Express "Michael Pollan makes tracking your dinner back through the food chain that produced it a rare adventure."--O, The Oprah Magazine
"A master wordsmith...Pollan brings to the table lucid and rich prose, an enthusiasm for his topic, interesting anecdotes, a journalist's passion for research, an ability to poke fun at himself, and an appreciation for historical context.... This is journalism at its best."--Christianity Today "First-rate...[A] passionate journey of the heart...Pollan is...an uncommonly graceful explainer of natural science; this is the book he was born to write."--Newsweek "[Pollan's] stirring new book...is a feast, illuminating the ethical, social and environmental impacts of how and what we choose to eat."--The Courier-Journal "From fast food to 'big' organic to locally sourced to foraging for dinner with rifle in hand, Pollan captures the perils and the promise of how we eat today."--The Arizona Daily Star "A multivalent, highly introspective examination of the human diet, from capitalism to consumption."--The Hudson Review "What should you eat? Michael Pollan addresses that fundamental question with great wit and intelligence, looking at the social, ethical, and environmental impact of four different meals. Eating well, he finds, can be a pleasurable way to change the world."--Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness
"Widely and rightly praised...The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals [is] a book that--I kid you not--may change your life."--Austin American-Statesman "With the skill of a professional detective, Michael Pollan explores the worlds of industrial farming, organic and sustainable agriculture, and even hunting and gathering to determine the links of food chains: how food gets from its sources in nature to our plates. The findings he reports in this this book are often unexpected, disturbing, even horrifying, but they are facts every eater should know. This is an engaging book, full of information that is most relevant to conscious living."--Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Spontaneous Healing and Healthy Aging "Michael Pollan is a voice of reason, a journalist/philosopher who forages in the overgrowth of our schizophrenic food culture. He's the kind of teacher we probably all wish we had: one who triggers the little explosions of insight that change the way we eat and the way we live."--Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse restaurant "Michael Pollan is such a thoroughly delightful writer--his luscious sentences deliver so much pleasure and humor and surprise as they carry one from dinner table to cornfield to feedlot to forest floor, and then back again--that the happy reader could almost miss the profound truth half hidden at the heart of this beautiful book: that the reality of our politics is to be found not in what Americans do in the voting booth every four years but in what we do in the supermarket every day. Embodied in this irresistible, picaresque journey through America's food world is a profound treatise on the hidden politics of our everyday life."--Mark Danner, author of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror "Every time you go into a grocery store you are voting with your dollars, and what goes into your cart has real repercussions on the future of the earth. But although we have choices, few of us are aware of exactly what they are. Michael Pollan's beautifully written book could change that. He tears down the walls that separate us from what we eat, and forces us to be more responsible eaters. Reading this book is a wonderful, life-changing experience."--Ruth Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine and author of Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
About the Author
Michael Pollan is the author of seven previous books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. He's also the author of the audiobook Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World. A longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he also teaches writing at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, TIME magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.
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Why do you eat what you do? How was it produced? If you can answer with more than the aisle of the supermarket you bought it from, well done. If you can’t, does that worry you? Is all food created equal and of equal health benefit? Is beef from a grass-lot the same as feed-lot, or vegetables grown industrially the same as organic? Do you know the answer to that? If not, does that worry you?
Michael Pollan argues it should worry us. Three principle chains of food sustain us, all of them linking one biological system, ourselves, with another, a patch of soil. Most of us, however, remain woefully ignorant of any sort of understanding of our food systems. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan explores each of the three methods of food creation, industrial, organic, and hunter/gatherer, and examines the costs and benefits of each.
There are of course two sides to every story, and Pollan is careful to examine the benefits from cheaper food in terms of health and living standards. He’s right, and the animal rights movement sometimes unfairly ignores these benefits. The reality though is that most of us aren’t in a position to decide either way; we remain willfully blind to the reality, ignorant of what we eat and where it comes from. Perhaps the tradeoff is worth it, but we should at least be aware of the processes our food goes through, whether that means glass walls on slaughterhouses or increased education about industrial production. In the end, what you eat is a personal choice, but it’s one that should be made out of information, not ignorance.
If you want to open your eyes to the food industry and learn something, then I suggest you read this book, if not, then trot off to McDonald's.
I believe anyone who wishes to eat meat should be prepared to visit an industrial farm and an abattoir and/or kill the animal and prepare the corpse - Michael Pollan grits his teeth and does all three for the sake of this fascinating study.
The detail and history it gives made me feel that this is the sort of book which should be on the reading lists of those studying politics or doing courses in pulic management (as I also felt about Robert Fisks's "The Great War for Civilisation - the conquest of the middle east".