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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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Performance
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  •  
    Gregory EL CERRITO, CA, United States 03-24-13
    Gregory EL CERRITO, CA, United States 03-24-13 Member Since 2013

    interested in medicine, fitness, and economics.

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    "Totally changed how I think about eating"

    I highly recommend this book. The author shares his journey from carnivore to vegetarian. The book is well researched, engaging, thought provoking and philosophical. He considers the issues associated with eating animals from both a cultural, ethical, and nutritious standpoint. His in depth exploration of the horrors of factory farming, both for the animals as well as for people, make the book a must read. I've always cared about animals, but this book was an eye opener for me. I didn't realize how badly we're treating food animals, nor did I fully understand the consequences to me and my family. My only complaint is that he didn't explore milk and egg production in more detail...
    The narration is great and the book is a must listen! It will give you a lot to chew on

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Columbus, Ohio, United States 02-03-13
    Amazon Customer Columbus, Ohio, United States 02-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A new approach"
    Would you listen to Eating Animals again? Why?

    Yes, I found the story and the variety of the information informative and entertaining.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I suppose the author, because in a sense it was his journey.


    What does Jonathan Todd Ross bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    There is an added intensity and playfulness that keeps the listener from wondering off in thought at the mention of a concept or idea.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but in fairness I did truly appreciate a fresh approach to a stale topic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nila BRONXVILLE, NY, United States 01-19-13
    Nila BRONXVILLE, NY, United States 01-19-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Too slow a narration"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    J.T.Ross has a good voice, but his narration was too slow and it made the book boring. I listen to three books per week, but I could not finish this one due to the slow narration.


    What could Jonathan Safran Foer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Have a narrator that reads at an acceptable speed.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Same as above.


    What character would you cut from Eating Animals?

    Not applicable


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    martin Willowbrook, IL, United States 12-24-12
    martin Willowbrook, IL, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Biased"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I bought the book because I was looking for an honest and unbiased look at the topic. Foer starts off strong and then by the middle of the book has his cards laid out on the table fully. I was really starting to like the book and then it turned so strongly toward the anti-meat side of the issue that it was hard to take the million and one reasons/stats he laid out for why vegan/vegitarianism is the right way to go too seriously. He debunks the passages he provides from those speaking on behalf of the current system and props up the passages from those on his side. Too biased to take seriously. Stopped listening in the middle.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Sylvan Lake, AB, Canada 12-14-12
    Rebecca Sylvan Lake, AB, Canada 12-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "An eye opener"
    What did you love best about Eating Animals?

    I loved the mixture of storytelling and research. I learned so much without feeling preached to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I felt inspired to do better after reading Eating Animals. It was encouraging without being judgemental.


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Todd Ross – was your favorite?

    I cannot remember her name but it would be the vegetarian wife of the rancher. She explained herself perfectly.


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

    The cost of ignorance.


    Any additional comments?

    After reading countless reviews about this book I was shocked to see how critical some people are. Jonathan was described as arrogant by omnivores and a fake by vegans. Nowhere did I find Jonathan to be condescending or judgemental. He was simply educating me as a reader. As for being labeled as a fake because he isn't 100% vegan 100% of the time I think that's shameful. He has reached more readers than any other vegan I know and has definitely changed my view on eating meat. I've by no means given it up but I've found an alternate source from a small farm nearby my house where animals aren't treated like inventory. I also think before I buy/consume meat and see it in a whole new light. I really appreciate him doing all of the leg work and sharing what he's learned. At the very least it will enlighten you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta Rochester, NY, United States 12-09-12
    Roberta Rochester, NY, United States 12-09-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Information everyone should know"
    If you could sum up Eating Animals in three words, what would they be?

    Very Important Information


    What did you like best about this story?

    The presentation was based very-well written, base on facts, read without emotion, and very persuasive.


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Todd Ross – was your favorite?

    All were excellent. The voice of the author was my favorite.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Make your own decision after hearing the facts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yethica279 Philadelphia 12-06-12
    Yethica279 Philadelphia 12-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "There are far better books on this topic..."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Maybe staunch vegetarians will like this book more.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Life of Pi... only because it's next in my library.


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Todd Ross – was your favorite?

    He only really has one character -- Jonathan Safran Foer's voice. Ross is the only reason I am giving this more than one star, since he did a pretty great job reading.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Annoyance.


    Any additional comments?

    Yeah, yeah... I get what JSF is trying to do here. He's trying to make the reader understand where our food comes from and how that relates to our food choices. And he's trying to make an argument for eating vegetarian. Here's the problem: He pukes out a lot of facts, but there's also a large variety of instances when he neglects to connect his own pre-stated facts, or quoted experts, to his experiences investigating the food industry. An example: He quotes Temple Grandin early in the book. When he is visiting a boutique slaughterhouse about halfway through the book, he begins to speculate as to why the pigs are slaughtered somewhere not visible to where they are held, and why they are put in a machine that grips them around the middle prior to them being bolted. He suggests that it's because this slaughterhouse is hiding something from regulators. He blatantly says that no one can explain to him the purpose to the machine that "hugs" them or why they are slaughtered in a place that is not visible to the other pigs/humans. COME ON MAN. It's commonly documented that Temple Grandin developed this method to help keep animals calm while they're going through the slaughter process. The hug machine: calms them down. The slaughter room is not visible to help KEEP THE ANIMALS CALM. Some people have called this an "even keeled" book, but I'm sorry... it's not. "Fast Food Nation" is more even keeled. "The River Cottage Meat Book" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsall talks about some of the same things as this book, but from the personal perspective of raising a beef cow for its whole life cycle -- birth to slaughter. Peter Singer's book "The Way We Eat: Why our Food Choices Matter" is more informative and nuanced. Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma" is DEFINITELY more interesting. Foer's book, when it comes down to it, is a self-righteous, touchy-feely, vaguely whiny treatise for vegetarianism, and as an omnivore who tries to make intelligent and educated choices about what I eat, I found it to be extraordinarily insulting. Foer should stick to fiction. He's much better at it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ricardo Lantana, FL, United States 09-19-12
    Ricardo Lantana, FL, United States 09-19-12 Member Since 2012
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    "definitely educational and relevant"

    very important information to consider, the subject matter will make you question your ethics for a range of topics and force you to face the fact that one needs to be informed in order to make their decision.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany Capistrano Beach, CA, United States 09-10-12
    Tiffany Capistrano Beach, CA, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Turned me into a veggie!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would like everyone I know and more to read/listen to this book. It has opened my eyes to horrible world of factory farming. Although I already new a lot about the horrors I never had the "balls" to stop eating meat. After listening to this book I was kicked into gear! Not only are their moral reasons to stop eating meat, but their are health, societal, and environmental reasons.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam BRYAN, TEXAS, United States 07-10-12
    Sam BRYAN, TEXAS, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2012

    I am a Youth Services Librarian at a public library and I love my job. I am also a runner and I love listening to great books while staying healthy. That's Elsie in the picture...she is my favorite running partner and typically perks her ears up during the tense portions of the books :)

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    "Can't Ignore the Facts"
    Where does Eating Animals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is the first non-fiction book that I have listened to, and I thought the reader was average. He made strange pauses and there was too much wait time inbetween chapters.


    What three words best describe Jonathan Todd Ross’s performance?

    Average.
    Somewhat lacking.


    Any additional comments?

    The book itself is amazing overall with the amount of facts that it holds. Foer makes some philosophical leaps that I can't hang with, but on the whole this is a book that you can't ignore and forces you to look at your moral code and decisions on a daily basis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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