Omnivore's Dilemma vs In Defense of Food I have not read Michael Pollan book - which book should I read? I read a review that In defense.. pretty much repeats what he says in his earlier books/articles, so I figured I only need to read one of these.
Thanks for your advice!
asked by JJ on February 23, 2008
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I have read both, and I read In Defense of of Food first. I just finished the Omnivore's dilemma. The premise of In Defense of food, makes much more sense. It is about what you should eat, and what you should feed your family, and then what we as a nation or as the global community should eat and how much we should consume. He focuses on what you can and should do for your health and the ecology of your local community through your food choices. It's good advice. However, Omnivore's Dilemma is wishful thinking, and not at all practical. Pollan advocates for the entire US agribusiness industry to change. The result, I believe that people around the world will starve. After describing four meals, he advocates buying from local producers of vegetables, dairy, poultry, beef, etc. This is a good idea, but is much expensive that going to Coscto, Trader Joe's, or your local Safeway, etc. Local Farmer's markets are a great choice, but again much more expensive. He takes you through his own experience of being a true hunter/gatherer. Frankly, this last chapter of the book was self-propelling, self-congratulating and quite boring. In the end, even he acknowledged that this was not at all practical in this day and age. He also maligned that fast food industry, specifically a meal with his family at MacDonald's. Granted, we all can limit our fast food intake, for the better. The two meals he clearly prefers, one using Whole Foods and the other a Natural Farm on the East Coast. Again, these are expensive. On the whole, OD gives an interesting look at farming and ranching, both small and much larger operations. Interesting, but not compelling enough to change how I eat. In Defense of Food, on the other hand does make me think about what I can do for my and my families health, and that of my community. The latter is a much better book and it never got boring.
M. Holmes answered on March 27, 2010
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i've only read in defense of food but it was really good. people say you have to read omnivores dilemma first but i think he does a great job of explaining the issues while offering solutions. i recommend it.
D. Ford answered on October 4, 2008
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Exactly what I needed--thanks for the thoughtful breakdown!
TLam answered on January 11, 2013
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Thank you for this thoughtful comparison of the two books! I know which book I want to start with.
Amazon Book Junkie answered on March 16, 2011
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The Omnivore's Dilemma was amazing. It is very "in depth" but completely worth it. Once you finish it you will want to read In defense of food and Botany of Desire, which I also highly recommend.
M. Cooper answered on January 5, 2010
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I'm trying to make the same decision. My first guess is the difference can be summed up: IDofF is 256 pages (paperback due for release 2009) and Omnivore's Dilemma is 464 pages (pprback). I guess TheOD is more "in depth."
Pauline M. Daniels answered on December 16, 2008
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