From Publishers Weekly
The "toxic cornucopia" of big agriculture is pilloried in this populist manifesto. Journalist Cook offers a nauseating recap of familiar charges: factory farming serves up pesticide-laden produce; the horrifying mills of high-density feedlots and hog and poultry sheds produce meat laced with hormones and antibiotics but still tainted with lethal bacteria; pesticide, fertilizer and manure runoff pollute air and water; immigrant meatpackers are paid paltry wages and physically ruined by inhuman line speedups. The heart of the book is an analysis of agricultural economics straight out of an 1890s Grange hall. Cook laments the destruction of family farms by a corporate "octopus" of agribusiness giants and parasitic middlemen who squeeze prices for farm products and inflate them for highly processed convenience foods on the store shelf, abetted by government farm subsidies that encourage overproduction and favor big producers. Cook's objections often seem to be to aimed at modernity itself—to the same forces of technology-driven, mechanized productivity that have industrialized the nonfarm economy. He doesn't explain how, without legions of housewives to make meals from scratch, we can do without food-processing middlemen nor why his program of returning to small family farms will curb abuses of animals, workers, consumers and the environment better than firmer government regulation of large-scale agriculture. His indictment is compelling, but his nostalgic remedy isn't fully persuasive.
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A book that forces you to look at things that you took for granted. Like breakfast. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A far-reaching takedown of the American food industry
.further explores the stomach-churning realm described by Eric Schlosser. -- Mother Jones
In the classic American tradition of muckraking journalism
information that consumers need and policy makers should be acting on. -- San Diego Union-Tribune
In the classic American tradition of muckraking journalism....an extensive and frightening catalog of the perils in our food supply. -- San Diego Union-Tribune
Provides the big picture, along with fascinating details, to motivate change before it's too late. -- Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet