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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orange Juice: Fascinating, But Not so Wholesome
Orange juice is healthy and wholesome. We drink it because it's fresh, full of Vitamin C and made from the natural fruit of orange trees. Right? Not hardly, says Alissa Hamilton in this darkly absorbing history of the Florida orange juice industry. Even if the carton says "not from concentrate," what you drink when you pour a glass of conventional, pre-squeezed orange...
Published on August 8, 2010 by Story Circle Book Reviews

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3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but repetitive
I love OJ, but never really thought about how it was made. Armed with the information in this book, I am going to be a better consumer. The one fault with this book is it is quite repetitive. Information from the 1961 Standards of Identity hearings is repeated, sometimes several times.
Published 2 months ago by Art


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orange Juice: Fascinating, But Not so Wholesome, August 8, 2010
This review is from: Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Yale Agrarian Studies Series) (Paperback)
Orange juice is healthy and wholesome. We drink it because it's fresh, full of Vitamin C and made from the natural fruit of orange trees. Right? Not hardly, says Alissa Hamilton in this darkly absorbing history of the Florida orange juice industry. Even if the carton says "not from concentrate," what you drink when you pour a glass of conventional, pre-squeezed orange juice is wholly industrialized, more a product of laboratory "food science" than of those sunshine-nourished orange groves Bing Crosby and Anita Bryant once pitched.

Hamilton set out to chronicle the orange juice industry's influence on the biodiversity of the sweet orange. When she and Dixi, her Jack Russell terrier-Chihuahua mix, drove to Lakeland, Florida, for four months at Florida Southern College, she hit the historian's mother-lode in the Thomas B. Mack Citrus Archives, presided over by Professor Mack himself, a nonagenarian who had studied the citrus industry for more than half a century "collecting weird and wonderful memorabilia along the way."

Documents Hamilton stumbled across in her "unmethodical" search of the archives--"the only type possible in the disarray," she comments in a wry aside--changed the direction of her research and painted a damming picture of the "wholesome" citrus industry and its "tree-fresh" product. Her discoveries--and the loss of the archives after Professor Mack died--have all the ingredients of a gripping detective story. Unfortunately, this thoroughly researched book is uneven, with long stretches that read more like a dissertation than a popular book.

It's not that Hamilton isn't a good writer. But in her enthusiasm to document the metamorphosis of the Florida orange juice industry from a fresh product to a laboratory evocation, and from individual growers hand-tending orchards of decades-old trees to industrial-scale orchards of trees "depleted" and replaced like worn-out dairy cows, the story bogs down. (The acronyms don't help: I kept stumbling over FCOJ for "frozen concentrated orange juice" and NFC OJ, "not from concentrate orange juice.")

The story in Squeezed, about an industry that became so successful in deceiving the consumer that it may have killed its own market, is an important contribution to the annals of our everyday food and how it is produced and marketed.

"I wrote this book with a modest ambition," Hamilton says in the Preface, "to make you look at your glass of pre-squeezed orange juice differently and begin to see through the opaque packages of food that surround you." She achieves that ambition and more. Although not an easy read, Squeezed is worth the effort.

by Susan J. Tweit
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough., October 15, 2009
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This book is a thorough, though sometimes dry (insert your own pun here), account of how orange juice came to be a product marketed as quite pure but in many senses actually anything but.

It makes for an interesting case study of one corner of our incredibly industrialized food system. The author seems quite fascinated by the regulatory hearings which led especially to the current state of affairs with respect to "not-for-concentrated" orange juice; the reader feels distinctly less fascinated than the author.

One thing of interest is precisely the lack of conclusions drawn. Yes, we conclude, orange juice is quite unlike the orange in the advertisements with the straw sticking straight out of it. And, yes, the way it came to be what it is today came from complex chemical, industrial, and legal processes. But there's also not any particular reason to think that these processes are dangerous or unhealthful -- just dishonest. So what, if anything, is to be done? The author deliberately refuses to answer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting review of the Juice industry, May 12, 2013
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This book was interesting to read and provides a side of the juice industry that is not shown on the television ads! I enjoy reading books about all aspects of our food culture and environment. If that is not your thing you might not enjoy this book. If you believe that everyone needs to drink orange juice everyday you might be in for some surprises. As with any non-fiction book the reader should keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to do some follow up reading to get a different view.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, June 1, 2014
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While some parts of the book are interesting and informative, the author spends an incredible amount of pages describing court proceedings on OJ identity .... I stopped reading the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but repetitive, May 7, 2014
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Art (Reno, NV USA) - See all my reviews
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I love OJ, but never really thought about how it was made. Armed with the information in this book, I am going to be a better consumer. The one fault with this book is it is quite repetitive. Information from the 1961 Standards of Identity hearings is repeated, sometimes several times.
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4 of 92 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OJ reality, December 29, 2011
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John "jn" (Rego Park, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Anyone who believe that orange juice bought in the container or decanter is freshly squeezed is pretty naive; the only fresh squeezed OJ is when you squeeze it from oranges yourself at home; even the fresh squeezed bottles found in supermarket specialty section can be suspect.
Oranges DON'T grow all year; in fact most foods are processed, manufactured. If one wants fresh food, then grow your own, BUT we want the convenience, so you let others grow it.

At least Tropicana makes an attempt to make OJ taste like OJ, and not reconstituted by adding water to a concentrate like others or store brands.
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Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)
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