I teach Business, Economics, and English at a university in Tokyo. My interests are in politics, economics, and philosophy. I hold a BA in English Literature, and an MA in Political Science.
So I guess Pollen doesn't like corn...I liked this book, but one thing I could not understand is the extravegant nature and methods Pollen uses to do the mundane. The lengths he goes to just to prepare a natural meal are pretty extraordinary. We do need greater transparency, especially when it comes to knowing what we are putting in our bodies for sustinance. This is clear...but I disagree with some of the subtle over statements and poor choices made by the author. He has a good point, but he should have fought the urge to indulge.
I listened to this book before industrial organic spinach made people sick, but Pollan's well conceived and thoroughly observed journey through our food supply prepared me to digest the news. Perhaps I was most surprised by the pervasiveness of corn in our diet, but each meal he deconstructs has its own surprises and delights.
The dilemma is that we're at the top of the food chain and have too many choices to make for dinner. Behind a lot of these choices is the industrial food chain, examined in the book, which is not a pretty picture. Behind some other choices are sustainable, pastoral chains beneficial to the environment, to the links along the way and to us.
The author, Michael Pollan, is articulate and personable. I had the feeling of being among several guests at a dinner table as he shares his insights. Never preachy or strident, the author describes the landscapes of his experiences, emotions and ideas from which we can determine for ourselves what food choices are best for us.
The author takes us through a natural history of four meals: from the land, which produced the food, to what we're about to eat. The first is from corn to McDonalds, next is Rosie the chicken, then the truly pastoral farm and finally the author's own hunting and gathering. As we sit around the dinner table, the author reminds us that we're eating the body of the Earth.
What is, in my opinion, an excellent book is made even better by the reader's narrative style. I've listened to a lot of audiobook readers and Scott Brick is among the best.
This is a fantastic book. The author does a great job of showing the origins of four different meals and how they go from living beings (plant or animal) to food on our plate.
The narrator is also very good. This is third book I have heard that has been read by Scott Brick and I don't think it gets any better.
When I first started listening to the book I thought the author was going to be a crazy PETA vegan type, but in the end he made a very reasoned argument about what is wrong with our way of eating in America. (FYI: the author is not a vegetarian). This discussion is not only from the obvious nutritional aspect, but also from the sustainability aspect of our industrial food chain.
The entire book was enlightening and filled with interesting facts, but the first part of the book on corn (sounds boring, I know) and our utter dependence on this grain is absolutely fascinating. Most interesting fact: we use about a barrel of oil to produce an acre of corn.
Best book I have "read" in a very long time.
4 1/2 Stars...
No matter how you react to the material in this book, you will forever think differently about what is on your plate. Expect to think a bit about your willingness to "fill in the blanks" with exactly the information desired by food providers. Eat what you please, but at least understand how food gets to your table and all the costs associated thereto.
A 5-star rating if not for questioning if the material was politically bias. I will re-listen to sort out whether or not I was being eased into a point of view or if I thoughtfully formed one. Even so, an experience in critical thinking...no matter the outcome...is of great value.
I would recommend to those who have interest in what we eat and how it comes to us. If you don't have this interest the book is to long to enjoy. Well researched and well written Pollan provides a cornacopia of information on four meals from the history of corn to an appreciation of what it means to be a hunter.
As good as Brick is I think he is the wrong narriator. His voice brings an officious air to the book which I don't believe is intended but easy to assume.
Since nobody seems to dispute the quality of the book itself, I just want to say that for my taste the book was read very well.
No excessive dramatism. I have heard over 12 audiobooks and the reader is definietly the best or 2nd best reader I have encountered.
You can always take a listen to the sample, but the book is extraordinary, don't let the taste of a few listeners prevent you from listening to this brilliant book
I cannot take anymore of Scott Brick's reading. It is a non-stop harangue;a scolding that goes on for hours. I have read the book and loved it and wanted to "re-read" it on my iPod, but I can't take it. If you enjoy someone preaching like it's hell and damnation around every corner, go for it. It's NOT for me!