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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 (3799 )
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  •  
    Daina 07-27-06
    Daina 07-27-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    "Don't Shoot the Messenger..."

    4 1/2 Stars...

    No matter how you react to the material in this book, you will forever think differently about what is on your plate. Expect to think a bit about your willingness to "fill in the blanks" with exactly the information desired by food providers. Eat what you please, but at least understand how food gets to your table and all the costs associated thereto.

    A 5-star rating if not for questioning if the material was politically bias. I will re-listen to sort out whether or not I was being eased into a point of view or if I thoughtfully formed one. Even so, an experience in critical thinking...no matter the outcome...is of great value.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Arkansas 07-23-06
    Amazon Customer Arkansas 07-23-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What we eat"

    I would recommend to those who have interest in what we eat and how it comes to us. If you don't have this interest the book is to long to enjoy. Well researched and well written Pollan provides a cornacopia of information on four meals from the history of corn to an appreciation of what it means to be a hunter.
    As good as Brick is I think he is the wrong narriator. His voice brings an officious air to the book which I don't believe is intended but easy to assume.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Uri San Diego, CA, USA 07-22-06
    Uri San Diego, CA, USA 07-22-06
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    "OUtstanding book, very well read"

    Since nobody seems to dispute the quality of the book itself, I just want to say that for my taste the book was read very well.
    No excessive dramatism. I have heard over 12 audiobooks and the reader is definietly the best or 2nd best reader I have encountered.
    You can always take a listen to the sample, but the book is extraordinary, don't let the taste of a few listeners prevent you from listening to this brilliant book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Fairbanks, AK, United States 06-28-06
    Susan Fairbanks, AK, United States 06-28-06
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    "NO MORE BRICKS!!"

    I cannot take anymore of Scott Brick's reading. It is a non-stop harangue;a scolding that goes on for hours. I have read the book and loved it and wanted to "re-read" it on my iPod, but I can't take it. If you enjoy someone preaching like it's hell and damnation around every corner, go for it. It's NOT for me!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abony Richmond, CA, USA 07-22-09
    Abony Richmond, CA, USA 07-22-09
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    "Decent Book; Terrible Narration"

    The book- Drags on at times, but overall has very interesting information. Perhaps would be better in book format.

    The narration- Unbearable. As others have noted, arrogant, unnecessarily dramatic, and smug. I was regularly distracted by the narration. This alone is reason to not buy.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy San Leandro, CA, USA 05-02-08
    Sandy San Leandro, CA, USA 05-02-08 Member Since 2006
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    "I can't listen to his voice"

    I have tried repeatedly but the narrator's overly stimulated and oratorial style is too annoying. I have listened to many audiobooks (surely over a hundred by now) and this is only the second one that bothered me like this.

    This is a shame because I really love to be told stories. I have the hardcover copy, and will have to read it myself...

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth columbia, SC, USA 02-13-08
    Elisabeth columbia, SC, USA 02-13-08
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    "Irritating and boring"

    I could not bear to listen to this after about 2 hours. Actually, I gave it 2 hours but I was disenchanted within the first hour. It starts out dull and gets duller. It was pedantic and tedious and the narrator's voice was irritatingly superior. I hate to be harsh, but this was just dreadful.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 07-24-06
    Mark 07-24-06 Member Since 2011

    I LOVE BOOKS! I have a service business (large salon). 'What are you reading' is heard all day everyday.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dilemma? LET'S EAT!!"

    The intimate details of the author’s experiences make this a difficult review. I’ve recommended this book more often and for more reasons than I can mention. Its entertainment value alone is worth the price of admission.. The knowledge gathered and imparted by the author is fascinating at times, disturbing at others. One of my measures of a good book is its ability to spank my naivete. In other words, the more often I can honestly say, “I didn’t know that”… the greater the book. Surprisingly, I was spanked quit often throughout. If you enjoyed “Super Size ME” or “Fast Food Nation” you’ll really like The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edith Oakland, CA, United States 08-03-09
    Edith Oakland, CA, United States 08-03-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Ho Hum"

    There was some interesting factual material here puffed up with way too much tiresome, self-indulgent fluff. Pollan does not convince me that the "dilemma" is what is crucial to our nutritional lives. And I'm sorry, but Scott Brick is an extremely annoying narrator. I will never buy any book ready by him again.

    7 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john challenger Winnetka, Illinois USA 05-05-13
    john challenger Winnetka, Illinois USA 05-05-13 Member Since 2015
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    "One note book with a supercilious reader."
    Would you try another book from Michael Pollan and/or Scott Brick?

    No


    What was most disappointing about Michael Pollan’s story?

    No balance.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Brick?

    don't know


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

    Annoyment


    Any additional comments?

    Thought I should put the put the book down early on, but didn't, and finally and thankfully stopped about half way through.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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