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The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability Paperback – May 1, 2009
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"[Vegetarian Myth] is one of the most important books people, masses of them, can read, as we try with all our might, intelligence, skill, hope, dream , and memory, to turn the disastrous course the planet is on." Alice Walker, prize-winning author, The Color Purple
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Top Customer Reviews
1) I am a female.
2) I give the idea of this book 5 stars, but its execution 1.
3) I have been a radical vegan, a rabid meat-eater and everything in between (currently in the in-between)
4) I am working on an archaeological PhD on hunter-gatherer diets, subsistence, hunting and transition to agriculture.
I picked this book up after reading Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals". I thought it would be interesting to read a different perspective on the vegetarian debate. I found Safran Foer's book to be much more geared towards the inhumane practices of meat while Keith's book is geared more towards diet/health.
I admit that it took a very long time for me to get through this book, for several reasons. I purchased this book hoping to get something out of it. I am not an upset vegan who wants to hate it and I am not someone who bought it knowing Id love it. I was just neutral. There were two main reasons for my disappointment with the book. One minor, one major. First, I found the second agendas (specifically the radical feminism) distracting and unnecessary. I have nothing against the feminist agenda, but this wasnt the place to put it. Second, I found the book absolutely riddled with bad information, faulty facts and just plain lazy research (if you can call it 'research'). As someone who intensively researches these issues on a daily basis, I found myself underlining items on nearly every page that I knew were just plain untrue or were 'cherry-picked' facts slanted to give a certain perception. This is such a disappointment as a really great case could be made for the author's view if she had only put the real work into researching the book properly.Read more ›
On a personal note, I'm extremely grateful 'The Vegetarian Myth' was written. It's a poetic, formidably intelligent book. This book is intensely personal, a life's work, and it is authoritative in its own right. I enjoyed and understood the mixture of anecdotal and scientific evidence. I found her references to be diverse and relevant (on completion of this book, I took the time to explore some of them and i'm not yet done). Clearly, the topic of the vegan diet is a controversial hotbed and Lierre must be commended for her insistence on finding the truth, regardless of who is alienated in the process -- this book is concerned with "adult knowledge" and "adult responsibility". Lierre contends that to understand the world, we must know it. Lierre's forays into farming, including her failed attempts at 'veganic' farming, led her to the heartbreaking, but finally undeniable, understanding that for life to be possible, someone has to die. Agriculture is anything but natural, Lierre explains here -- it is biotic cleansing -- so a vegan's hands are not 'clean'. It is instead a question of the suffering we can see and identify with (such as that of factory farmed animals), and the death we can not see but still 'benefit' from in very real and equally unjust ways. This book is not belligerent towards vegans -- it's more like a love letter to our earth. Factory farming is condemned for being the ethical and ecological nightmare that it is, but it turns out to be just the beginning.Read more ›
So I always love to read non-veg writing, and this book was worth reading for sure. Keith has done her homework and has some very interesting insights to share. I usually burn through books in 2-3 days, but it's taken me a full week to get through this one and I've got about 25 dog-eared pages.
Here's what was interesting:
1 - The need to admit that agriculture itself is screwed up and unsustainable (whether veg based or meat based)
2 - The reality that grains are a pretty bogus basis for a diet.
3 - The bitter truth that our planet can't support us, period (veg or non-veg)
4 - The potential problems with fat soluble vitamins
(note: if you haven't read the book yet, the above might not seem that ground-breaking, but seriously, Keith uncovers some new, very compelling stuff).
Here's where it was deeply flawed:
1 - We vegans are so few in numbers, writing a book about us is so uninteresting to most, that it had to became a book about vegetarians (in most countries, they don't even have a word for vegans, btw).
But it's not a book about vegetarians, except in title.
There are loads of vegetarians, lots of them who don't give much thought to their diet, and most of whom consume copious amounts of animal products (dairy, eggs). So the Vegetarian Myth is itself a myth that most vegetarians don't subscribe to. Vegans, yes. We get attacked so often, every vegan I know has had to create a core story to explain "why" (except me... I just shrug and smile).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed the book, I agree that being Vegetarian or Vegan does not actually save the planet. However, I disagree with her beliefs that Vegetarianism or Veganism is not healthy. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Jasmine
I used to be a raw food vegan and have my dentures to prove it. I lost my teeth due to the high carb intake from the vegan/fruitarian way of eating. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very compelling. More an expose of civilization and industrial agriculture than of veganism. A life-changer for me.Published 22 days ago by Allan G. Kern
Poly-unsat fats depress the immune system which is why they are given to organ transplant patients. With these fats in the diet, Drs. can prescribe less immune suppressing meds. Read morePublished 1 month ago by peggy d.
This is a great book... Ms. Keith has great insight into what is destroying the world today. A must read, IMHO!Published 1 month ago by Douglas Brown
Okay, yes, I'm a carnivore now, specifically, I've been woking the Atkins diet for several years. I'm forced to do so because of type II diabetes. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tedward
I am a skimmer, one who looks for the substance in this kind of book going past the personal interjections. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J K
dispels many ridiculous vegetarian fantasies
nominate for the Pulitzer Prize
I would recommend this book to be read by all
I can see why so many people hate this book, but I agree with the positive reviews. I was vegan for five years until a week before I read this book (I had started eating eggs... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alicen Grey