Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Diet For A Dead Planet: How The Food Industry Is Killing Us Hardcover – November 30, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
From Publishers Weekly
The "toxic cornucopia" of big agriculture is pilloried in this populist manifesto. Journalist Cook offers a nauseating recap of familiar charges: factory farming serves up pesticide-laden produce; the horrifying mills of high-density feedlots and hog and poultry sheds produce meat laced with hormones and antibiotics but still tainted with lethal bacteria; pesticide, fertilizer and manure runoff pollute air and water; immigrant meatpackers are paid paltry wages and physically ruined by inhuman line speedups. The heart of the book is an analysis of agricultural economics straight out of an 1890s Grange hall. Cook laments the destruction of family farms by a corporate "octopus" of agribusiness giants and parasitic middlemen who squeeze prices for farm products and inflate them for highly processed convenience foods on the store shelf, abetted by government farm subsidies that encourage overproduction and favor big producers. Cook's objections often seem to be to aimed at modernity itself—to the same forces of technology-driven, mechanized productivity that have industrialized the nonfarm economy. He doesn't explain how, without legions of housewives to make meals from scratch, we can do without food-processing middlemen nor why his program of returning to small family farms will curb abuses of animals, workers, consumers and the environment better than firmer government regulation of large-scale agriculture. His indictment is compelling, but his nostalgic remedy isn't fully persuasive.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A powerful and provocative indictment of the food industry. If you eat, read this important book! -- Jim Hightower
Armed with Cook's compelling expose, we don't have to be victims. -- Frances Moore Lappe
Christopher Cook helps us rethink the very ethical and environmental principals that ought to guide our approach to food. -- Jeremy Rifkin
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Cook organizes his topic into three sections, dealing with food quality and safety; the business and economic aspects of modern agriculture; and environmental consequences of profligate pesticide use and "factory" farm effluents. Each section contains several chapters with extensive footnotes. The chapters are obviously targeted for a general audience, and as a consequence are very readable without overwhelming the reader with statistics and technical jargon. In particular, I found the chapters on the evolving history of American agriculture offered a concise but informative account of a complex and often tumultuous subject. Other chapters on such diverse subjects as the "mad cow" crisis, the continuous deposition of toxic pesticides in water supplies, and the travails of workers in high-throughput slaughterhouse operations, are all eye-opening to one degree or another.
Cook ends the book with a admonition to the public: unless we actively choose to support organic / sustainable farm operations, our health and the welfare of the environment we live in are not going to improve. Rather than simple hectoring, however, in the last segment of the book he provides an extensive listing of whole-food organizations and advocacy groups dedicated to helping us change the way we eat and consume natural resources. There is of course an element of "better to light one candle" rhetoric here; even Cook is not so naïve as to think that tomorrow will see the US converted to any kind of enormous vegan commune. But his hope is that after reading Diet some of us will devote a bit of thought to the hows and whys of our eating habits, and in this, I think he is as realistic as any "muckraker" can be.
There is a lot to ponder in this book and some excellent ideas and suggestions as to what we as consumers can do to make changes in our lives and our communities to help bring farming back to the people and out of the hands of the giant corporations.
Well researched and presented, and easy to read.
Chock full of facts, and the varied, related food topics are sure to grab a reader.
Resources at the end of the book guide you to organizations and sources that
further your education.
Probably the only annoyance in this book is he treads politically correct waters when talking about the exploitive labor practices used on illegal (and legal) immigrants by agribusiness. Its also very Americentric. I am really grateful to live in a country that while it is far from perfect, has higher food standards and doesn't allow all this toxic stuff into the food supply like America does and about a third of the fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products on the shelves in Denmark are organic.
In this book Chris Cook discusses not only the dietary problems associated with obesity but with the entire food system. He talks of the corporate control of farms and supermarkets, unsustainable forces that demand ever higher production levels of productivity and profits, mistaken subsidies for exports, and corporate friendly regulations.
Food has become a political issue while at the same time, the growth of organic farming has surprised the corporations and is growing faster than anyone ever expected.