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)
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.
I'm not sure. I haven't read the print version.
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.
This was a one-man dictation. I think there wasn't really a way to mess it up.
How YOU are perpetuating the situation
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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