Dianne in Canada
This book is really really good. The author presents the information in a very objective way and based on a lot of reasearch. The book is a hundred times better and more interesting than Michael Pollans books. One of the most interesting and well written books I've read on the subject. Its also been translated into several other languages all ready.
Safran Foer's work is personal, detailed, and broad. Therein lies its many strengths and some of its weaknesses. It's not a textbook or study so much as a personal reflection and personal investigation of how we produce (most of) the animals for consumption that we do.
In turns, it's horrific, painfully sad, and very funny--if darkly so. At points it meanders a bit and goes into detail that others may not. Over all, the detail and focus is riveting and well written.
The narration is performed at a rate, I feel, that matches very well the sense of reflection and poetic cadence of the book; and of course one has the option to speed up if one wants (at least with an iPod). I would not.
All in all, this is a book that you can turn back to again and again, that provides mental sustenance to support better choices in how you may choose to live and how to feed yourself and your family.
Otherwise known as My Leisurely Journey to Vegetarianism And Incidentally You're An Idiot If You Don't Convert To It Also
I was pretty let down by Foer's first stab at nonfiction, especially since the reviews said it was even-handed. This was not as detailed or remotely objective as Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation. Although it had some interesting information - like the brief info about PETA and Smithfield - I felt like I was being force-fed (trying... to... avoid... puns) the conclusions instead of letting me have the facts and come to revelations/decisions on my own. And the conclusion-jumping was a bit much: If we stop eating meat > animals won't be hurt > factories won't pollute > Global Warming will cease > we'll be happy lettuce munchers.
With the two books mentioned above (which he openly criticizes) there was a pull instead of a push, and I didn't feel like I was being talked down to. This just made me feel entrenched in meat for no other reason than I was insulted... and it makes me want to bathe in steak and drink turkey blood.
Tone aside, this does present a good case against animal cruelty, which even meat-lovers would want to change. Reform is something we need to demand, but saying that the only way to change factory farming is to become a vegetarian is just plain naive.
This book makes some good points about the benefits of a vegetarian or at least ethically farmed omnivorous diet, but it's all been said before. For a better narrated, well written version of this book, I recommend "The Omnivore's Dilemma".
This is a fresh, literary, almost poetic look at the evils of factory farming, told from a very personal and accessible perspective. I only wished the narrator read a little faster and left out many of the longer pauses.
this was my first read on factory farming and animal welfare in agriculture and I learned from it a lot. I certainly recommend it but if I want to be critical, I think the last %30 of the book could be traded for some more data. maybe because I was not looking for a book telling any story here buy would prefer a dry factual research. for the most part the book was like that except for the last part.
The book has a lot of valuable information. Unfortunately the author tries to emotionally charge his argument unnecessarily. The facts are compelling enough. There's also all this extra crap about himself and his opinions. That part of it is just awful and manipulative. The author wants to turn you into a vegan behind a thin vale of neutrality.
If he would have left himself out of it the book would be great but instead it's tedious in places.
Though the author loves eating meat, the gathered evidence left him no choice, but to become vegan.
He is not coercing the reader to become vegan or vegetarian, but paints a clear picture what the consequences are of our eating habit. Some alternatives are proposed and the reader can choose those with his dollars.
In any case we need to realise that we're farming by proxy. And we need to be comfortable with our choice of who we give that proxy to. To that end this book is a great help.
I really enjoyed this book. Being an environmental scientist I became a vegetarian because of the problems factory farming is causing our environment, but now I'm not only proud to help the environment but the animals as well. some of the accounts brought up were truly eye opening.