- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books (September 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316069884
- ISBN-13: 978-0316069885
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (722 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Eating Animals Paperback – September 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The latest from novelist Foer is a surprising but characteristically brilliant memoir-investigation, boasting an exhaustively-argued account of one man-child's decade-long struggle with vegetarianism. On the eve of becoming a father, Foer takes all the arguments for and against vegetarianism a neurotic step beyond and, to decide how to feed his coming baby, investigates everything from the intelligence level of our most popular meat providers-cattle, pigs, and poultry-to the specious self-justifications (his own included) for eating some meat products and not others. Foer offers a lighthearted counterpoint to his investigation in doting portraits of his loving grandmother, and her meat-and-potatoes comfort food, leaving him to wrestle with the comparative weight of food's socio-cultural significance and its economic-moral-political meaning. Without pulling any punches-factory farming is given the full expose treatment-Foer combines an array of facts, astutely-written anecdotes, and his furious, inward-spinning energy to make a personal, highly entertaining take on an increasingly visible (and book-selling) moral question; call it, perhaps, An Omnivore's Dilemma. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* If this book were packaged like a loaf of bread, its Nutrition Facts box would list high percentages of graphic descriptions of factory farm methods of animal breeding, mass confinement, and assembly-line slaughter as well as the brutality and waste of high-tech fishing methods; fresh studies of animal (fish included) intelligence and their capacity for suffering; and undiluted facts about industrial animal agriculture’s major role in global warming. Sensitive to the centrality of food in culture and family life, Foer, author of the novels Everything Is Illuminated (2002) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), frames his first nonfiction book within the story of his Holocaust survivor grandmother’s complex relationship with food and his response to fatherhood. He presents assiduously assembled facts (supported by70 pages of end notes) about the miserable lives and deaths of industrialized chickens, pigs, fish, and cattle and about agricultural pollution and how factory farming engenders species-leaping flu pandemics. He also asks philosophical questions, such as why we eat such smart and affectionate animals as pigs but not dogs. Foer brings extraordinary artistry, clarity, valor, and compassion to this staggering investigation into the ethics, horrors, and dangers of factory farming. An indelible book that should reach a diverse audience and deepen the conversation about how best to live on a rapidly changing planet. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
It is the first thing that has compelled me to take a firm stance within my own framework. And it has encouraged me to be vocal with others.
This book should be compulsory reading for everyone who purchases food. Meaning, yes, just about everybody!
Thank you Jonathan Safran Foer for another masterpiece. From someone who doesn't read non-fiction :)
The book doesn't deserve a compliment as a full summary of arguments pro vegetarianism, but as an eye-opener. Jonathan Safran Foer begins with his own story and that of his family, then leads us to facts about the meat industry that are less personal, but that would affect any of us universally and individually. He tells the story that he needs to tell, and leaves us the right to make our decision, a decision that will influence the way we eat and the way the industry will evolve.
The book doesn't offend any omnivore and doesn't speak solely in favor of vegetarians either, which is the reason why I would recommend everyone to read it. You may believe in what has been written, like I do, or you can choose to ignore it. It never hurts or is never a waste of time hearing someone else's opinions or learning new insights we've never known before.
At a certain point, as all these facts about factory farming were gradually revealed in the book, I felt obliged to remind myself that I wasn't reading a thriller or a fantasy fiction at all. No vikings were fighting each other in the book; no extremely intelligent serial murder was committing an international crime; there was only this strange relationship between us and this-silent-thing-on-our-plate-that-we-call-meat being present. It's a thriller that is real and that happens daily thanks to our ignorance, and most of all: for which we are all responsible.
I don't want to recommend this book as a vegetarian, but as someone who wants to know more about the functionality of the world's meat industry, and especially as a reader. Foer's choices of words and his writing style, including the way he quotes others, really fascinate me. It was really impossible for me to put the book down once I had started.
(And as a student Graphic Design, I would like to mention how beautifully John Gray has designed the cover of the book, which is a good reason to have it on the shelf.)
I understand that not everyone is completely comfortable talking about factory farming and that things may have changed since the publication of this book. But I think it is something that we don’t think much about simply because we buy our meat from a grocery store and if this were to ever stop then many of us would be faced with the harsh reality that you can’t pick meat off trees. I could go on a longer rant about my personal feelings about this topic, but that’s not why any of you are here for. You are all here for a review, so a review I shall give.
Jonathan Safran Foer does not aim to convert any of his readers to the vegetarian diet, but for those who read this, it most certainly will enter your mind (unless you don’t care at all about animals). He explores the process by which we get our food and talks to people on all sides of the issue. This was one of my first philosophical reads concerning what we eat and I can say that it definitely made me thing, which is the point and makes it a true philosophical read. While his opinion is obvious by the time you are completed with the book, the fact that Foer does not force a belief on you is very interesting.
I would suggest this for anyone interested in a philosophy of food and a debate on what we eat and whether or not we should. I give this book 4.5/5 beans.