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Dinner at the New Gene Café: How Genetic Engineering Is Changing What We Eat, How We Live, and the Global Politics of Food Hardcover – September 24, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (September 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312265751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312265755
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,587,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It may be true that we are what we eat. Now, with a flood of genetically modified foods overtaking the market, it is possible to eat what we are. But the prospect of genetic cannibalism is the least of the worries of food activists, and journalist Bill Lambrecht's Dinner at the New Gene Café follows both sides of the genetically modified organism (GMO) debate with vigor. He's been covering the story since the mid-1980s, interviewing agricultural officials, biotech industry executives, family farmers, and protesters to build a comprehensive understanding of the issues.

Lambrecht's writing, clear and direct, explains the science and politics plainly enough that even those who flunked Biology or Poli Sci 101 can understand his arguments. He is equally skeptical of the claims of industry shills and activists, and often shakes his head in wonder at the incompetence of government agencies. From academic conferences to the Battle for Seattle, he's seen every aspect of the GMO wars, as they ignited in Europe and slowly spread across the world and eventually penetrated the U.S. Peppered with short essays on his own illegal home experiments with GMO seeds, Dinner at the New Gene Café offers readers insight into a growing question that will most likely define our menu choices for many years to come. --Rob Lightner

From Publishers Weekly

Lambrecht, a reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has written an indispensable history of the political storm surrounding GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Beginning before the Federal Government first approved genetically modified crops (in 1998) and taking us to the present, Lambrecht traces the struggle by Monsanto Company the industry leader referred to as "Monsatan" by the opposition to overcome the backlash to GMOs that has spread from Europe to other continents and to the United States. This book's greatest asset is the firsthand testimony it gives from every side of the debate. Lambrecht himself reported on everything from the Starlink controversy, in which genetically altered corn that had not been tested on humans turned up in Taco Bell products, to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, which he witnessed firsthand, to the conference on bio-safety in Montreal, where an international agreement to precautionary language on GMOs marked the first step toward a global compromise. He provides transcripts of interviews with players such as Monsanto chairman Robert B. Shapiro, anti-GMO guru Jeremy Rifkin and Iowa farmer Earl Sime, who tells why farming is in jeopardy and how GMOs can help. Lambrecht talks with farmers, activists and government leaders in Europe, India and Africa, and shows why Monsanto's long-term future lies in foreign markets and why the ultimate success or failure of GMOs rests with consumers. (Sept.)Forecast: If given due review attention and prominent displays following Lambrecht's author tour, this could be the breakout book on GMOs. The potential readership people who are concerned about what they eat is huge.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Wagner on January 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was a little wary when purchasing this book that the entire premise would be zealotish anti-GMO and anti-biotechnology. The quotes on the cover seemed to indicate that would also be the case. I was extremely pleased to find a very balanced reporting of both sides of the genetic engineering debate. The author has been a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for over 2 decades, and has been covering the debate and progress since its inception. His style is engaging and fast-paced, with humor and human interest sprinkled in to lighten a complex topic. He seems to lean toward the side of caution, but gives full reporting to the biotech companies' claims and biotech's proponents' enthusiasm. I personally am hopeful of the promise and potential of this technology, but this book helped me understand opponents' fears in a very sympathetic way. Particularly frightening was the disclosure of some of the big biotech firms' less-than-open trials and political influences. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the issues involved in genetically engineering our food.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel on December 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book was very enlightening in the subject of GMO's, as they are a powerful new technology with frightening implications. Lambrecht uses entertaining anecdotes and accounts of his dealings with ordinarys farmer and head agricultural powerfigures. I recommend this book because it tried to show an objective perspective on the entire issue, and left no voice unheard.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris Florian on March 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you are curious about what you are eating this is a necessary book for you. Bill Lambrecht provides an unbiased resource for those intrested in the history of GMO food. Lambrecht gives the opinions of scientists, politicians and the farmers that grow these crops. This provides a balenced collage of information that allows anyone to make up their own mind about what the future of food should be.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marcellus B. Lima on February 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I second the other revierw here, I must add that this book could be some 100 pages shorter and still hit the mark. The way it is, Lambrecht uses too much words to deliver his message.

Also, because of the subject matter itself, the book is a bit outdated.

Other than that, good reading material.
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