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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals | [Michael Pollan]

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

"What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.
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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century.

"What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't, which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.

The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is best-selling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.

We are indeed what we eat, and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as "What shall we have for dinner?"

©2006 Michael Pollan; (P)2006 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

  • National Book Critics Circle 2006 Award Finalist, Nonfiction

"Remarkably clearheaded book....A fascinating journey up and down the food chain." (Publishers Weekly)
"His supermeticulous reporting is the book's strength - you're not likely to get a better explanation of where your food comes from....In an uncommonly good year for American food writing, this is a book that stands out." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Completely charming." (Nora Ephron)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Rebecca E Ankrom Troy, MI United States 08-14-11
    Rebecca E Ankrom Troy, MI United States 08-14-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Book was great, narration was fine"

    I just wanted to say I'm glad I didn't let concerns about narration stop me from listening to this book. I found nothing bothersome about the narration, and the book was really wonderful. It's changed how I make food choices, and settled a lot of conflicts in my mind about where to spend my food dollar.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Simi Valley, CA, United States 05-20-11
    Joseph Simi Valley, CA, United States 05-20-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Informative book, very well read"

    This is the kind of book that can really change your life. . . and you don't have to become a convert to anything for this to happen. As you listen to the book, you simply will become more broadly aware of the world of food and how it is produced. Michael points out that it is odd that we live in a society wherein an investigative journalist is required to find out where our food comes from. And the stories of the different meals he presents here are simply fascinating. By the end of the book, I found myself wondering how the fennel plants growing on the side of the road would taste, and how could I harvest them. Thank you Michael and thank you Scott. Well done. . . and very rare at the same time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristine 04-01-11
    Kristine 04-01-11 Member Since 2010
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    "An amazing food journey!"

    I loved this, start to finish! I didn't quite get why I was being buried in corn at the beginning, but the weight of it was removed at the end. Michael Pollan is a compelling storyteller who leaves you to find the moral. I thank him for the journey, and the thought-provoking oberservations. Digging into Second Nature now, and delighted that he narrates it himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shep 02-07-11
    Shep 02-07-11

    No Hazmats

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    "Great book, but it made me weary"

    I give this book 4 stars because I think the content is very important. If you care about the environment, your children, or your health; you should pay close attention.

    It didn't get five stars from me for two reasons. One is that certain passages (such as on the pathos of hunting) were simply too long without adding any significant amount of substance relative to the theme of the book.

    The other reason is the narration. It's the first book I've listened to to that was narrated by Scott Brick. I found people either like him very much or dislike him very much. I'm somewhat sorry to say that I fall in with the latter group. I found his voice edgy and preachy and I had to go away from it for a couple of weeks to take a break. I think what several people in both positive and negative comments have described as the 'dramatic' element of his voice is what I found unduly annoying. This is a tough subject, and perhaps the text can be a bit preachy itself at times. Adding a preachy tone for the reader was over the top to me. I would have very much enjoyed a calmer, fireside chat kind of read. I will think twice before listening to another book read by him, but with all the praise for him, I will consider it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DebS 12-12-10
    DebS 12-12-10
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    "Great book, frustrating narration"

    Pollan's book is well-written, engaging and thought-provoking, though also disturbing. I give the content 5 stars. The problem is the narration. The narrator is so in love with his own voice that it is hard to follow the words. He has these odd inflections and cadences that make it more like a poetry reading or perhaps pulpit preaching. It made it hard to follow Pollan's ideas. I've given up on the audio version and will get the print version instead.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yuet 11-09-10
    Yuet 11-09-10
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    ""Was glad this is in audio book""

    I bought this book (actual book) 3 years ago and never had the time to finish it. No I've already listen to it twice on audio book. This is one book that makes you think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Tiffany Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-30-10
    Tiffany Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-30-10
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    "Essential read"

    An eyeopening book that explores where our food comes from and where it SHOULD come from. Every omnivore (and herbivore) should read this if only to know what they're putting in their bodies and know they have a choice and how to go about making that choice. I was even more of a fan of Eating Animals but this was a softer story with a lighter message.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    valerie Crown Point, Indiana, United States 08-11-10
    valerie Crown Point, Indiana, United States 08-11-10 Listener Since 2008
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    "Wow !!!"

    loved the book, Didn't like the reader. I have recommended this book to everyone I know. it is a "must have" for your library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    ellen birrell 07-29-10
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    "Scott Brick is the worst reader"

    I could not listen to this book. I think Michael Pollan is amazing and the book is fascinating, timely and revelatory, but I cannot listen to Scott Brick. His delivery is wooden and formulaic with terrible tics of expression that do not correspond to or respect the cadence of the prose. I feel like he has a tin ear, and I will never buy a book read by him.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    03-14-10
    03-14-10 Member Since 2010
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    "A must read"

    So intresting to know know where your food comes from and how it is made and processed, this book has changed the way I eat.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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