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Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food (Yale Agrarian Studies Series) Paperback – July 24, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From a vivid account of working as the "flour boy" breading chicken on the line to a detailed expose of the human rights abuses of "Big Chicken," Striffler's concise text offers a perspective fans of Fast Food Nation will appreciate. Though aimed at a scholarly audience (parts of the book were presented at a conference on chicken at Yale), Striffler's fast-paced narrative, rich with personal detail, will be enjoyed by readers outside of the university setting. Striffler, an associate professor of Anthropology of the University of Arkansas, worked for two summers at a Tyson plant. "Look, we're all Mexican here. Screwed-over Mexicans," explains a co-worker as Striffler eats fried chicken with a group of diverse line workers, many (but not all) of whom emigrated from Mexico to work in processing plants. Rural southern communities have responded to the shifting racial makeup of their towns in often reactionary ways (Siler City, the town where Striffler worked, was the site of a KKK rally in 1999), yet the factory provides both a quasi-family for workers as well as an exploitive work environment. Striffler expands upon the current arguments for organic or sustainable chicken production to include human-friendly chicken with strict production guidelines, but he seems to have just scratched the surface with this slim volume.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Modern chicken production and consumption is embedded in a fascinating web of political, economic, social, and even psychological factors that need to be described, understood, and questioned. Steve Striffler, combining scholarly analysis with his remarkable brand of participatory research, has produced a masterful book, one I will recommend widely."-Kelly Brownell, Yale University

"Extraordinarily powerful. . . . This book will do for chicken what Fast Food Nation did for beef." - Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health


"Striffler presents the first in-depth look at the rise of the chicken industry in late twentieth-century America. The story is vivid, engaging, and-in chapters dealing with Mexican and other immigrant chickenworkers-riveting."-Deborah Fitzgerald, author of Every Farm a Factory




"A gripping and deeply sobering view of big chicken' from the bottom up. Striffler's experience on the (dis)assembly line, his sympathetic grasp of the hopes, dreams, and origins of the workforce, and of the larger history of the industry, make for a uniquely powerful and memorable book."-James C. Scott, Yale University -- James C. Scott

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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Agrarian Studies Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Yale Agrarian Studies Series edition (July 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300123671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300123678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wow! An academic who can write! This is a great book from beginning to end. Striffler actually worked in poultry processing plants and lived to tell about it -- and tell about it he does! He really provides an excellent, if critical, look at not only the industry, but how we raise, cook, eat....food in general. And he is a great writer. It really makes you think.

One other thing. I noticed one reviewer on Amazon was critical of Striffler for caring more about poultry workers than chickens. Uhh? I hope he cares more about people than birds! Is this a bad thing? I am an animal rights activist, and I wish there was more on this subject in the book, but that would be a very different book for a very different audience. This is just not a book about animal rights; it is much broader in perspective. But I found the book to be very informative, and even suggestive for those of us interested in animal rights....because Striffler provides the whole picture. The fact is that most people eat chicken, and will do so for some time -- so the question is how do we make the system better for everyone, including the birds. On this, Striffler is very critical of the industry; his analysis is superb and his ideas suggestive. Let's not lose perspective!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought and read Striffler's book to gain a better understanding of the largely immigrant-filled workforce in the meat processing industry. This book more than satisfied me. It serves not only to introduce you to the growth of the chicken industry, but also to describe insightfully immigrant workers' experiences, in any industry.

It is a very timely book given this year's focus on immigration reform. This industry will likely be more affected than any other if any major legislation is enacted.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have read on food. If you liked Fast Food Nation you will love this book. In some ways it is better, in other ways it is just different. Striffler is a wonderful writer and storyteller. The history of the industry, and the rise of so many chicken products, is fascinating. His account of working in a poultry processing plant is incredible -- sad and funny at the same time.

Definitely read this book. It will change the way you think about chicken, food in general, and the immigrant workers who do all the work.

Awesome book!
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Format: Hardcover
A harsh indictment of the aggressive tactics of the poultry giants, Striffler's work gives a grim view of the consequences for farmer, worker, and consumer. This book can be enjoy equally by activist, academician, and voracious reader all equally. Imminently readable, Striffler's work not only conveys a sense of the author's ideology but more importantly, backs up his concerns with hard and fast statistics.

Even for those who don't wish to endure a frontal assault on Tyson Foods and other major agribusiness corporations, the discussion on how American consumerism around chicken has changed over the last 20 years. For those who are old enough to remember a world without McNuggets, its an interesting cultural retrospective.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chicken tells you more than you thought you wanted to know about what we eat and buy. But after reading it you are hungry for opportunities to do something about the situation Striffler lays out so compellingly. Nuggets of wisdom about nuggets of poor nutrition but high profits reaped from unconscionably high suffering.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not for sure about this book. I got it for my daughter for her college classes that she sent me a list of books she needs for the up coming semester in the Summer for her Winter classes. I'm guessing she likes it. She getting good grades in the class and hasn't said anything to me about any problems with the book.

She did tell me a lot about this book and class talks in the classroom. It got her to rethink about eating and the class wasn't about that LOL but it help her to rethink about other things that the class was teaching too.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a must read for anyone who eats Chickens. You should know what you are supporting and the dangers of the product.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great text for the anthropologist! I am writing my dissertation on immigrant labor and would love to find more sources like this! Great!
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