- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (August 30, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0738215287
- ISBN-13: 978-0738215280
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 87 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) Paperback – August 30, 2011
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Choice, April 2011
“Bloom’s book is worth consideration, not only because of his focus on the American food waste problem, but also because of his evident desire to do something about it. Recommended.”
Gastronomica, Fall 2011
“With a journalist’s attention to research and observation, and a do-gooder’s sense of urgency, he tackles [food waste] from different perspectives, examining links along our national food chain, including farms, supermarkets, restaurants, and individual kitchens.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review), 8/15/10
“An eye-opening account of what used to be considered a sin—the willful waste of perfectly edible food…Bloom is full of condemnation without being unduly scolding…Refreshingly, Bloom offers solutions as well as jeremiads, and not a minute too soon—an urgent, necessary book.”
Huffington Post, 11/9/10
“Timely, terrific new book.”
Tucson Citizen, 11/23/10
“This book could change your life.”
About the Author
Jonathan Bloom is a journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe. He lives with his wife and son in Durham, North Carolina. Visit: WastedFood.com
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The author also tends to be a bit hit and miss in narrative abilities. At times he's engaging and the style is not unlike "Freakonomics". However, where that book typically took time to really dig apart some of the cited examplesor experiments, this book tends to just reference studies or examples in a passing fashion.
Another minor issue I have with the book is that the author tends to try and explain things as having a REASON or a PURPOSE too much. For example, in a chapter about art, he seemed to get hung up on their needing to be an evolutionary reason for this element of humanity. However the author has either forgotten or doesn't know that there are many examples of evolution not doing away with adaptions that are no longer relevant but are not overtly harmful. For example, male nipples (a remnant of the fact we are all conceived female), 3rd molars (largely redundant based on how heavily our food is processed now and how little chewing we do, relatively speaking), the appendix (again, largely irrelevant due to not having to eat raw vegetatian all the time), or a set of muscles in the shoulders that are largely useless now that we don't spend our days hanging in trees. So, point being: our appreciation of art may not have an evolutionary advantage but merely be a nice side effect of having a brain geared towards open-ended problem solving and non-linear critical thinking (as an aside, they've found that proto-humans had both more white matter in their brains and were leaving many more examples of art than Neanderthals were, but how would a tendency to waste time painting pictures have helped proto-humans survive AND thrive better than our now dead ancient cousins?). And the author does this multiple times, not bringing up or considering the possibility of the "redundant" factor in evolutionary history (although he does on occasion mention the possibility of certain ideas or elements being just fortunate side effects, but only in a "last possibility" sort of way.
Overall it's a good book. It introduced some new ideas about human psychology and evolution to me, and brought up some interesting points about what we prioritize in terms of pleasure. However, the book tends to be a little light on its explorations and in-depth discussions, especially in later chapters.
That's what I thought. Jonathan Bloom's book is absolutely riveting, and his areas of exploration are so varied, complex, and well described that I ate this book up like a Taco Bell triple crunchwrap! This man has done his homework, and his writing method is so entertaining that you tend to forget that you are learning all kinds of horrible facts and truths about food waste in our modern world. Examples abound of all kinds of preventable waste going on all around us, from the farms that feed us, the supermarkets that provide the offerings, and our own lazy and entitled habits at home and in restaurants. The most startling revelations, to me, was the prevalence of this activity all around us, and how our cultural attitudes have fostered notions that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the way we squander and waste food. Best of all, Bloom offers solutions that are available to us right now, and simply require our own cooperation to set in motion. For a book that I began reading with obvious reservations came a truly inspiring and exhilirating experience, and taught me a lot about a subject in which I thought I was well-versed. Highly recommended.
This book is written to be readable probably much as this college professor teaches the subject to his college students who have notoriously short attention spans. Every teacher knows these days you have to be half scholar and half entertainer if you are to get your students to tune in to you instead of their smart phones.
I think Bloom does an excellent job of covering a wide spectrum of where we find our pleasures and showing you why. As an author myself I can see that one distraction from the content is the actual book design which includes the font, margins, spacing, chapter headings, paper and cover stock and the cover design. The cover artwork is okay but the paper stock of the cover and interior of the book are decidedly cheap which I think makes you take the content less seriously. Every woman knows "packaging counts" and it is true in book design as well. Even when a big publisher like W.W. Norton agree to publish your work, an author should fight for at least input on the book design.
Despite the cheapy feel of the book in your hand, the content is well worth considering...it may make you think twice before you spurge on that special something you really cannot afford.