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
"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)
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.
I would recommend this book but it is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). There were times that the book made me physically nauseous. I assume most readers are already inclined towards a vegan or vegetarian diet, so there is some preaching to the choir, but it arms you with facts and figures and more information than a person could gather on their own without the time to devote to serious research. After reading this book and watching Cowspiracy, I think the take away is that one day we will not be able to choose a plant-based diet or choose to eschew meat, but that the choice will be made for us as the planet will be unable to sustain factory farming in its current form. I think the author sometimes resorted to dramatization and scare/guilt tactics, but I liked the story-telling format.
The book itself is great, but there are stupidly long breaks between chapters, so long that my speakers kept automatically turning off after sensing such long silence. Great book, not the greatest production.
#1, hands down
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.
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.
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.")
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.
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