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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

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (3571 )
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  •  
    Julia Potsdam, NY, USA 12-29-09
    Julia Potsdam, NY, USA 12-29-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "amazing..."

    This book, as well as 'Born to Run' have completely changed my life. It has forced me to look at what I'm eating and realize that it's not at all healthy. This book made me a vegetarian. Get it, it's worth ten credits!

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bennett south lyon, MI, United States 10-27-09
    Bennett south lyon, MI, United States 10-27-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    11
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    0
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    "Beautiful"

    This book is for everyone in this country who either eats or knows someone that does! This educational and fascinating masterpiece sown together by this artist of a writer Michael Pollen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edmund X White 09-16-09 Member Since 2008

    mund

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    102
    1
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    A life changing book. This is a top favorite and highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Cape Coral, FL, USA 08-02-09
    Joshua Cape Coral, FL, USA 08-02-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Changes the way you view how we eat"

    Perspective-changing content.
    Excellent narration.
    Interesting use of expert opinion combined with the author's personal experiences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacy Nunya, IN, USA 12-22-08
    Stacy Nunya, IN, USA 12-22-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
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    REVIEWS
    107
    47
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    Overall
    "Very interesting"

    However, I'd encourage others to listen to the abridged version. I listened to this on the "fast" version on my Ipod and it still drug on. Very interesting and entertaining though. Just long.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas New York, NY, USA 03-06-08
    Douglas New York, NY, USA 03-06-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    19
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    "A pretty interesting read"

    This book has three distinct parts, only one of which you should listen to: the introduction, the beginning 2/3, and the last 1/3. The introduction is insufferably boring, meandering, repetitive and generally uninteresting. The middle 2/3 are very interesting, well-researched, and quite engrossing. Listen to that twice. The last 1/3 (I believe it is the last "Part" of the four parts) is monotonous, and feels like filler tacked on to give the book sufficient heft. Once he starts discussing his hunting experience (you might enjoy the discussion of the vegetarian movement), it just drags on and on.

    The reading is among the better for audiobooks; it is enunciated and well-paced for the material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Kent, WA, USA 03-03-08
    Stephen Kent, WA, USA 03-03-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "My best listen yet"

    I learned things about what we eat that I'm not so sure I wanted to know. It makes me consider becoming a vegitarian. But the way the information is presented is masterful. But not only was the information very interesting, the way it was read was really top notch. This is my favorite audio book so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D portland, OR, USA 02-15-08
    D portland, OR, USA 02-15-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
    Overall
    "Eye opening"

    This is a detailed, informative and very disturbing look at the industrial food system we live within. It makes me want to run away from anything with corn in it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevan Austin, TX, USA 01-17-08
    Stevan Austin, TX, USA 01-17-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    "Phenomenal"

    The one word title describes this book. After listening to it, I have altered my choices of food for political, moral, and health reasons.

    Listen to it and learn where your food comes from.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Salt Lake City, UT, USA 10-07-07
    Ryan Salt Lake City, UT, USA 10-07-07
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    "As if the decision wasn't hard enough!"

    I have to admit that our "dilemma" has been made that much more difficult with this newest Michael Pollan masterpiece! It is helplessly cliche yet true that igorance is bliss. I have three small children and can't help but be concerned about what is being put into their bodies. We have always been health concious yet after reading this book I feel that our efforts have been pathetically feeble. Yet I feel a new understanding and appreciation for those farmers who don't buy into the industrial complex just to make a buck (and what a few "bucks" you will make if you did). I had an economics professor tell us once that the largest welfare recipients in this country are farmers. Pollan just helps confirm and expound as to why! An ancient philosopher once said that "Knowledge is power as long as we act on it." This book, along with "fastfood nation" and the film "supersize me", is a major kick in the pants to act.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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