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Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America, Revised Edition (California Studies in Food and Culture) Revised ed. Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520234406
ISBN-10: 0520234405
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  • Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America, Revised Edition (California Studies in Food and Culture)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Smoothly written and full of information, this ambitious history sometimes emphasizes detail at the expense of overarching themes. Levenstein ( Revolution at the Table ) begins with the Great Depression, moving chronologically and alternating between discussions of government policies for hunger-relief and the development of culinary tastes. The author resurrects much valuable material: how thiamine was promoted as the "morale vitamin during WW II"; how Italian-Americans, virtually alone among immigrants, resisted Americanization of their cuisine; how the 1950s were the "Golden Age for American food chemistry"; how the barbecue boom of the 1960s was the first step to men sharing cooking responsibilities; how Mexican food boomed not in the American Southwest but in New York City. Levenstein's discussion of the "plenty" is richer than his account of the "paradox"; a study of poverty food programs could have made a separate book. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his lively, entertaining study of America's eating habits from 1930 to the present, Levenstein (history, McMaster Univ.) explores the disturbing existence of hunger in the midst of agricultural abundance. Describing the economic, political, and cultural factors that have influenced the American diet, he exposes the role that major food processors, the medical establishment, and the American government have played in modifying the taste buds and nutritional ideas of its citizens while ignoring the plight of its increasing numbers of malnourished poor. He also examines the national obsession with dieting and the impact on eating habits of married women entering the work force in record numbers. Well written and thoroughly researched, this overview gathers together information that many health and food enthusiasts will find interesting and enlightening.
- Linda Chopra, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised ed. edition (May 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520234405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520234406
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book reviews the trends and changes of food in the USA from a cultural, nutritional, medical, and marketing standpoint in the 20th century.. Although the paragraphs are long and could be condensed, the effort to read this book gave me context as to why the average consumer is confused regarding nutrition and how status even applies to our dietary habits...... even if those habits are detrimental to our health.
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Format: Paperback
I can't say enough about this book. It is one of the most thought provoking, wide ranging books on the subject of food and how these attitudes has changed over time I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Covering the conflict between often over bearing government regulation and industry run amok in their search for profit professor Levenstein illustrates the ongoing struggle to keep our foods healthy and nutrition while still allowing the channels for food to remain plentiful. By detailing various aspects to the American dietary landscape (and the references to these details are extensive) the author illustrates how we have changed our views on what healthy means over time while alternately showing how the struggle to feed ourselves is never far away. Nearly every page has seeds of dissertation topics. A truly amazing work!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a truly compelling read; on every page is information that needs to be headline news! There needs to be a new edition now to highlight things that have changed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who knew there was so much information on American eating habits. This book is bursting with facts and figures about the history of social eating.
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By T on June 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read this for my class, but it is a very interesting. If you are into the history of the American diet I would highly recommend this book.
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