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Eating Animals | [Jonathan Safran Foer]

Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood - facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf - his casual questioning took on an urgency His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong.
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Publisher's Summary

Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood - facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on a child's behalf - his casual questioning took on an urgency.

His quest for answers ultimately required him to visit factory farms in the middle of the night, dissect the emotional ingredients of meals from his childhood, and probe some of his most primal instincts about right and wrong.

Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir, and his own detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits - from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth - and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, widely loved, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told - and the stories we now need to tell.

©2009 Jonathan Safran Foer; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"The everyday horrors of factory farming are evoked so vividly, and the case against the people who run the system presented so convincingly, that anyone who, after reading Foer's book, continues to consume the industry's products must be without a heart, or impervious to reason, or both." (J. M. Coetzee)

"A work of moral philosophy...After reading this book, it's hard to disagree [with Foer]." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"For a hot young writer to train his sights on a subject as unpalatable as meat production and consumption takes raw nerve. What makes Eating Animals so unusual is vegetarian Foer's empathy for human meat eaters, his willingness to let both factory farmers and food reform activists speak for themselves, and his talent for using humor to sweeten a sour argument." (O, The Oprah Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (451 )
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4.1 (279 )
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  •  
    Sarah Hoskovec Denver 07-17-11
    Sarah Hoskovec Denver 07-17-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Nothing New"

    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".

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate Jackson, MS, United States 08-17-12
    Nate Jackson, MS, United States 08-17-12 Member Since 2006
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    "His Fiction is Much Better"
    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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.


    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MATTHEW Glenfield, Australia 01-12-10
    MATTHEW Glenfield, Australia 01-12-10 Member Since 2009
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    "A fresh look at the topic, in slow motion"

    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.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Athena Chen Cleveland, OH 04-03-14
    Athena Chen Cleveland, OH 04-03-14
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    "Life-changing"
    Where does Eating Animals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    #1, hands down


    What did you like best about this story?

    Matter-of-factness


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Todd Ross’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to J.T. Ross narrate anything before, but he did a wonderful job with Foer's book. In fact, he is my favorite narrator now - a perfectly "neutral" voice and excellent with quotations from both men and women.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    As a life-long omnivore who has never gone out of her way to learn about where her supermarket meat comes from, there were numerous moments that alarmed me, horrified me, and made me incredibly uncomfortable. Foer has some pretty graphic descriptions of factory farms and slaughterhouses, and his interviews with their employees were pretty awful.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly, highly recommended for omnivores considering vegetarianism. (I've tried mentioning this book to omnivores not already considering vegetarianism, and they've generally responded with, "I don't want to know.")

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake R. Manhattan Beach, CA 01-26-14
    Jake R. Manhattan Beach, CA 01-26-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Veggie proselytism disguised as open-mind overview"

    I did enjoy the first 50-60% of the book, as JSF mixed stories of his youth with overviews & detailed looks at the meat & seafood industry. Then this book, which openly proclaims that it's not about how vegetarian eating is the only solution, spends the latter half of the book preaching the same mantra over & over again. Repetitive to the extreme, it's as if the author had all these clever lines that he needed to include in his treatise. Badly in need of some editing, that would at least make the preaching tolerable.

    But the logical trap he tries to draw the listener into had the opposite effect on me. As he told story after story that ended with the same conclusion, JSF repeatedly spent 90% of his prose talking about the worst 1% of abuses. The effect certainly boomeranged, as I found myself questioning all the "facts" and cleverly stated statistics that he used throughout both halves if the book.

    All in all, I'd still say the first half is a solid 5 star book, but the second half had me hoping the book would end sooner rather than later. There are certainly better books about the case against factory farming, for vegetarian diets and the health & ecological issues associated with meat eating. I wouldn't recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandra Viaduc Chicago, IL 01-20-14
    Alejandra Viaduc Chicago, IL 01-20-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Open your eyes."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Eating Animals to be better than the print version?

    I'm not sure. I haven't read the print version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I appreciate the varying points of view, from farm owners of good, medium, and horrible farms... from employees who quit, employees who stayed, employees who give first-hand accounts of beating and torturing animals and why they did it.....
    Of course there is always some bias information in a book like this, but he did a good job of at least listing facts and numbers, and not as many opinions.


    What about Jonathan Todd Ross’s performance did you like?

    This was a one-man dictation. I think there wasn't really a way to mess it up.


    If you could give Eating Animals a new subtitle, what would it be?

    How YOU are perpetuating the situation


    Any additional comments?

    Foer is sly. He knew that everyone would be affected, and not everyone would take action, so I like his follow through in the last chapter. Well played.
    This book is monumental for me. I will be making all the changes that I can reasonably afford to make, based on the concept that if I'm not boycotting, I'm participating in the problem. If you're not with me, you're against me.... right?
    I won't be vegetarian, but I think we can handle less meat, and certainly glad to hear it was POSSIBLE to buy happy meat at places such as Whole Foods. I went there after reading this book and they actually have a rating system of how the animals were treated and how they lived. And what Foer doesn't mention (maybe because he's vegetarian, now) is that happy grass-fed, free roaming beef tastes WAY better.
    I'm definitely scarred for life. Bravo, Foer!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Edmonton, AB, Canada 12-08-13
    Kristi Edmonton, AB, Canada 12-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Better than i expected"
    What did you love best about Eating Animals?

    I would have rated this 4.5 stars, but there is no option and I consider it closer to 5 than 4, because I thought that it was very well done.

    What I loved was the balanced and reasonable viewpoint. I expected this book to lead straight to vegetarianism being the answer, but instead found it to be a quite balanced exploration.

    It was a great book to read after Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemna" because it brought up different issues, and focused on different areas of meat eating.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    A chicken farmer in one of the chapters. He really loved farming chickens the right way and treating them well, and is what a farmer should be.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Todd Ross’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Haines Jct, Yukon, Canada 11-25-13
    Elaine Haines Jct, Yukon, Canada 11-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Everyone needs to know this content"
    Any additional comments?

    More than ever before anyone who eats should be well advised on where their food comes from, how it produced, handled and brought to you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David APO, AE, United States 07-12-13
    David APO, AE, United States 07-12-13 Member Since 2010

    Clarkplus

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    "Rink Before You Eat"

    This book blew me away. I was already moving in the vegetarian direction because of other thing I read or watch. This book helped me move that extra way into not eating animals or fish.

    I recommend this to everyone for all the obvious reasons but beware that there are some things that might be disturbing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ACO 04-01-13
    ACO 04-01-13 Member Since 2004
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    "A Must Read for everyone!!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This takes off from the Righteous Porkchop by Nicolette Hahn.

    A must read for everyone who would like to know the truth about animal FACTORY farming. Whether one chooses to be a vegetarian after listening to this or simply reduces one's consumption of meat is of another matter. To be inform is a worthy goal of itself.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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