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Diet for a New America Paperback – April 14, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This well-documented expose of America's "factory farms" should prompt even die-hard meat-and-potatoes lovers to reevaluate their diets. Asserting that "we are ingesting nightmares for breakfast, lunch and dinner," Robbins, who is medical director of the California Institute for Health and Healing, details how livestock is raised under increasingly industrialized conditions by "agribusiness oligopolies." Grazing and foraging have given way to debeaking, tail-docking, dehorning and castration, and treatment with pesticides, hormones, growth and appetite stimulants, tranquilizers and antibioticswhich, in turn, are assimilated by humans. The author correlates our "protein obsessed" society with a higher incidence of arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, cancer and other degenerative diseases, as well as freakish occurrences like premature puberty from estrogen contamination. As Robbins debunks nutritional myths perpetuated by the powerful meat and dairy industries (indicting as well his family's Baskin-Robbins ice-cream empire), this is sure to prove controversial. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Diet for a New America is a powerful indictment of our dietary practices that should be read by everyone interested in healthy living. It is a well-researched, well-documented and eye-opening account of the myths and truths about meat, milk, fat and protein. I will recommend this book to patients, friends, and relatives. -- Andrew Weil, M.D., Author, Spontaneous Healing

Diet for a New America is a powerful tool on the journey towards consciousness and compassion. I recommend it without reservation, and hope that many, many people will read it. -- Gary Zukav, Author, The Dancing Wu Li Masters

Diet for a New America will vitalize the awakening of America. This easy-to-read yet mind-boggling book has its place in the kitchen and in the doctors office, in every classroom, from preschool to university. For those involved in ecological and political issues, this book is a mustso it is for all of us who long for a practical economical way to foster a more sane, ethical and loving world. -- Laura Huxley, Author, This Timeless Moment

A reading must for all caring Americans. -- Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, Authors, Fit for Life

Diet for a New America is excellent! I can't speak highly enough of it. This book is a breakthrough in the science of health and a joy to read. No one who suffers (or whose loved ones suffer) from the diseases of our time can afford to ignore this potent message. In his captivating style, John Robbins shows us how to create health for ourselves, our children, and the world we live in. -- Dr. John McDougall, Author, The McDougall Plan

Every so often a book comes along which has the capacity to awaken the conscience of a nation. Silent Spring was one such book: I believe John Robbins volume is destined to be another. With consummate intelligence, thoroughness and skill, Robbins takes us on a multifaceted journey which should cause all sensitive people to question their eating habits most searchingly. I couldnt put it down. -- Cleveland Amory, President, Fund for Animals, Author, The Cat Who Came for Christmas

From the outset of reading this volume I was enthralled. The book is a pleasure to read, as engrossing as the most exciting novel. Yet this is no novelit deals directly with the most important personal issues and decisions of our lives. When I finished reading Diet for a New America, I knew that in my hands lay one of the most profound studies ever written of how our eating habits affect our lives, and indeed all of life on our planet . . . If you read only one book this year, let it be this one. -- Vegetarian Times magazine

In a tender, not strident, voice Robbins shows us why a humane society cannot be built upon an inhumane system of food production. Robbins does not play on our guilt, but shows us how our own well-being is linked to the development of radically new sensibilities to non-human life. I promise youwhat you perceive behind the supermarket meat counter will never be the same after reading Diet for a New America. -- Frances Moore Lapp, Author, Diet for a Small Planet

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HJ Kramer; 2nd edition (April 14, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915811812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915811816
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Doland on July 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
I just read John's newest book, The Food Revolution. In many ways, it makes Diet for a New America obsolete. The Food Revolution is basically a rewrite of Diet for a New America with new information.
I looked at some of the reviews here for Diet for a New America. Almost all of the reviews are either 5 stars or 1 star. John certainly does generate rather extreme responses. So, I thought I'd take a look at the negative reviews and see what they have to say.
I read some of the reviews of other books made by those who gave Diet for a New America negative reviews to see where they are coming from. One of the negative reviewers gave a 5 star rating to a Protein Power book. So much for that reviewer's knowledge of nutrition. Doctors of both mainstream and alternative medicine virtually unanamously condemn Atkins and his clones.
Some of the reviews complain that John's presentation is too emotional. Nature isn't always so kind. Not all animals are cute little puppies to play with. Fair enough - I'm not going to go pet an aligator any time soon. But does that then mean we have the right to engage in systematic torture of animals? I'd say that is a rather extreme leap. So is the fact that John tries to tug at our hearts so bad? I guess some readers believe that we humans are merely more "protein conversion machines" that the meat industry thinks of the aninimals it tortures.
Some critics would say that John isn't qualified to talk like an expert in nutrition, the environment, animal husbandry, etc. Okay, except for one thing. People who ARE experts in these fields, such as former cattle rancher Howard Lyman (of Oprah Winfry "McLibel" fame,) nutrition experts Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard, etc.
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Format: Paperback
This is a radical polemic with a clear intention: to increase the number of vegans in the world. In a way it is a throwback--with similar effect--to Upton Sinclair's famous novel, The Jungle, about the filth in the Chicago stockyards, except that it is non-fiction (mostly, anyway). John Robbins wants to rub our nose in the filth, neglect and cruelty characteristic of the meat and poultry industries. He wants an end to the mass production and consumption of animal foods.

He begins with some amazing and heart-warming stories about the courage and selflessness of animals and how much they do for us. Then he turns his focus to the way we treat the animals we use for food. It is difficult to read this part of the book, and indeed I confess that I skipped ahead. I already know about those appalling conditions having seen them on TV. Next he argues that we need less protein than the "protein empire" wants us to believe. He goes on to show how we can get all the protein our bodies require through a vegan diet. Then he argues that many cancers can be prevented with a proper diet that excludes animal products while implicating the products of the meat and poultry industries in the development of many diseases, especially the chronic diseases epidemic in the Western world. He concludes with a general manifesto in favor of an agrarian kind of heaven on earth.

I am sorry to report, as other reviews have, that there are many errors and misconceptions in the book. In a minor error on page 176, for example, Robbins writes that "wheat...is 17% protein." Actually (as the USDA chart on the next page shows) 17% of the calories from wheat are in the form of protein, which is decidedly not the same thing.
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Format: Paperback
When I became a vegetarian, I talked with a lot of people. Many of these people were talking about a book entitled "Diet For A New America" by John Robbins. Everyone was saying it was a 'must read' so I read it.
This book is broken up into three parts. The first part deals with animals. He tells stories of animals that do amazing feats and he also speaks of the horrible things that are done to them for the sake of human consumption. He talked of them all: Cows, Pigs, Birds and Fish. You don't often read about 'fish' being mistreated, as if they were some sub-specie, but Mr. Robbins covers this with compassion.
After I was able to stop crying, I moved to Part Two. I was able to put the Kleenex away for this chapter, which talks of the health risks of eating the bi-products of animals. He goes into detail about everything you may want to ask. He talks of protein intake, fat consumption, calcium requirements, heart disease, stroke, and cancer...the list goes on and on.
He has included many graphs for the reader to compare and make up their own mind.
The last part, Part Three, deals with the poisons in our food. He talks of the pesticides that have caused illness in the past and many that are poisoning us as we breathe.
This book left no stone unturned. Everyone should read this book, not just vegetarians or people considering that route, but everyone in America. I knew quite a bit about the meat industry and about the ill health it can cause, but I learned some stuff that I hadn't known before.
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