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The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus (February 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605982776
  • ASIN: B00AZ9DZSA
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"A touching and thought-provoking exploration of not only what we eat but how we eat it." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

Serious Eats
"As a long-time vegetarian . . . I was more than a little wary. . . Fortunately, this book retires exhausted tropes and instead presents a truly original and touching account of connecting with nature.”

Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City
"Both a personal tale of how one man comes to terms with the meat on his plate and a historical look at humanity’s connection to animals, The Mindful Carnivore delivers new insight in the too often simplistic vegetarian-versus-carnivore argument."

Sports Afield
"A gripping look at some of the central questions, both practical and philosophical, of human existence."

Casual Kitchen
“One of the most unusual and intriguing books I’ve ever read. . . . Thought-provoking, educational, subtle, and agenda-free.”

New Mexico Wildlife
"This groundbreaking book has enormous potential to create a dialogue with differing groups."

Publishers Weekly
"A touching and thought-provoking exploration of not only what we eat but how we eat it."

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook
"Cerulli offers penetrating insights into not only where our food comes from, but what our daily dietary choices say about who we are as human beings."

Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop
"Elegantly written, thoughtful, intensely personal yet universal, Tovar Cerulli’s The Mindful Carnivore is destined to become a classic."

Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn and Raising Steaks
"Bull’s-eye! Cerulli cuts through forests of argument with a thoughtful and thrilling narrative. We experience his growing awareness of what it means to be fully involved in the web of nature. With him we can wonder at its complex mystery and share in ‘mindful eating’ as a sacred act."

Jan E. Dizard, author of Mortal Stakes and Going Wild
"A remarkably candid, nuanced, and engaging meditation on what it means to be human. The Mindful Carnivore is a bracing read."

More About the Author

Tovar Cerulli has worked as a logger, carpenter, and freelance writer. His essays and articles have appeared in various publications, including Outdoor America and Northern Woodlands. In 2009, Cerulli was awarded a graduate school fellowship by the University of Massachusetts, where his research has focused on food, hunting, and human relationships with the natural world.

He lives in Vermont with his wife Catherine, their Labrador retriever, and an eclectic mix of cookbooks.

Customer Reviews

Hunters and non-hunters should read this book.
LLD
The Mindful Carnivore is a thoughtful account of Cerulli's progression from a strictly vegan and self-described morally superior diet to one that includes meat.
HuntingLife
It takes the reader from the edge of disturbing to the relief of laughter with extremely private insights all along the way.
EV Bowyer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By G. Hinds on February 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a very readable book about the complex web of interdependence between humans and our food, whether it be animal or vegetable. Not highly editorialized, it is nevertheless a call to examine more deeply our relationship to food. Cerulli is not defending the meat industry -- throughout the book he is in agreement with the general consensus that the meat industry is highly problematic. But he points out eloquently that things are a bit more complicated than "meat bad, veggies good," and not just because of the nutritional pitfalls of plant-based diets. To simply avoid meat and reach for tofu at the grocery store is still to be out of touch with our food and everything that went into bringing it to us -- including, yes, the death of animals. Cerulli's search for a better way to stock his fridge is useful and informative, in much the same way as the documentary "No-Impact Man."

I found the book clear, insightful, and very beautifully written. The point about the complexity of the web of interdependence is well-illustrated and reenforced throughout but not heavy-handed. There's a lot of interesting information on the history of hunting and wildlife management, as well as the wide spectrum of philosophical stances and approaches found among hunters. There's definitely an element of suspense as well, whether you happen to be rooting for man or deer.

For the record, I have known the author for many years. I am not a hunter. I have been a vegetarian, and am a vegetarian sympathizer.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Loughlin on February 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tovar's story is relatively unique in itself. To simply read about his journey of transformation to veganism and back, would have made this a good book. But the deeper look into his own relationship with food and his impacts on the natural world around him provides us with an opportunity to look a little deeper into ourselves. Best of all, he accomplishes this without preaching or self-righteous dogma.

"This is how I see it," is basically what he says. It's never, "this is how YOU should see it."

He just presents the opportunity, and the reader can hardly help but take it.

It's not a completely comfortable book, especially for the long-time hunter. Tovar tips some sacred cows in his quest to find answers, and he asks some pretty tough questions. For example, he challenges the often contorted logic that hunters need good PR, so we should be ethical and safe. Shouldn't we be ethical and safe anyway? Good PR will logically follow.

In his very thoughtful approach to the decision to kill a deer, and in the efforts that culminate in his first success, Tovar sheds a little light on the thought process that many of us long-time hunters have come to take for granted. To me, at least, it was an opportunity to look back at my own choices and decisions and take stock of where my personal ethics come into play. I think there's a lot of value in a book that makes you stop to think without telling you what you should be thinking. And this is what makes The Mindful Carnivore a great book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Al Cambronne on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just finished Tovar Cerulli's newly released The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance, and I highly recommend it to just about anyone who eats and reads. No matter how you'd label yourself--hunter, nonhunter, antihunter, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, or just an omnivore with dilemmas--this is a book worth reading. And once you've finished it, you may begin questioning those labels that once seemed so simple and clear. But apart from all the big ideas in this book, it's just a good read.

As Cerulli tells a deeply personal story of his own journey from vegan to hunter, he connects his experiences to larger themes having to do with meat, meaning, and the karmic costs of every food on his table--including the brown rice, tofu, and organic vegetables. As you'll immediately guess from the book's title and cover, Cerulli is now something of a venison evangelist. But he wasn't always. After reflecting on the compassionate words of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, he became a vegetarian at age 20. Soon, after learning more about the modern egg and dairy industries, he went completely vegan. Eventually, however, he began to have second thoughts.

"I realized," he writes in his bio for a recent panel discussion, "that all food has its costs. From habitat destruction to combines that inadvertently mince rabbits to the shooting of deer in farm fields, crop production is far from harmless. Even in our own organic garden, my wife and I were battling ravenous insects and fence-defying woodchucks. I began to see that the question wasn't what we ate but how that food came to our plates. A few years later, my wife--who was studying holistic health and nutrition--suggested that we shift our diet, and my health improved when we started eating dairy and eggs.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jpltpl on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I love reading about food and where food comes from, so this book was right up my alley. Cerulli is a careful, thoughtful writer (and eater!) and clearly cares about doing the right thing where animals and humanity is concerned. Well done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Brown on March 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I've been quite fascinated by the questions about where our food comes from over the last couple of years and documentaries such as Food Inc and Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals have only added to my interest. Although I have weighed up my carnivore lifestyle numerous times over the last decade, I still keep returning to the meat counter or section. So, what would Cerulli's The Mindful Carnivore teach me about my attitudes?

I really don't know what I expected about the book but it raised some real questions that I had never expected to address. Cerulli spends a lot of time considering hunting: hunting for food, hunting for sport. I have never hunted - I have no desire to hunt - but I'm aware of the hypocrisy I would present if I looked down on anyone who hunted for food. Surely it shows more respect for the produce you eat than a schlep to the meat counter does?

Cerulli interweaves this tale of his personal history with food and, specifically, meat with factual information, personal anecdotes, quotations from various sources both pro and anti-hunting and both for and against vegetarianism.

All in all, this is a very very well-constructed book but neither aims to preach nor to condemn but simply to detail one man's quest for answers about this particular and what he has discovered on the journey. At times touching, at other times disturbing, this is an incredibly emotive book, yet still manages to keep a tight hold of the facts.

**I received a copy of this title in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation. All views are my own.**
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