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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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Unneeded fluff

The book has a lot of valuable information. Unfortunately the author tries to emotionally charge his argument unnecessarily. The facts are compelling enough. There's also all this extra crap about himself and his opinions. That part of it is just awful and manipulative. The author wants to turn you into a vegan behind a thin vale of neutrality.
If he would have left himself out of it the book would be great but instead it's tedious in places.

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Compelling to become vegan

Though the author loves eating meat, the gathered evidence left him no choice, but to become vegan.
He is not coercing the reader to become vegan or vegetarian, but paints a clear picture what the consequences are of our eating habit. Some alternatives are proposed and the reader can choose those with his dollars.
In any case we need to realise that we're farming by proxy. And we need to be comfortable with our choice of who we give that proxy to. To that end this book is a great help.

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very informative

I really enjoyed this book. Being an environmental scientist I became a vegetarian because of the problems factory farming is causing our environment, but now I'm not only proud to help the environment but the animals as well. some of the accounts brought up were truly eye opening.

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Everyone needs to read this book

Truly eye opening - this should be a required read for high school & college students or any animal lover

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Rough but important topic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

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Great book, questionable production

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.

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unlistenqble dry slow narrator

even increasing playback speed won't fix the interminable pauses. might be a worthy read but the narrator will make you want to pull your hair out.

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Life-changing

Where does Eating Animals rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

#1, hands down

What did you like best about this story?

Matter-of-factness

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Todd Ross’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.")

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Veggie proselytism disguised as open-mind overview

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.

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Open your eyes.

Would you consider the audio edition of Eating Animals to be better than the print version?

I'm not sure. I haven't read the print version.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What about Jonathan Todd Ross’s performance did you like?

This was a one-man dictation. I think there wasn't really a way to mess it up.

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

How YOU are perpetuating the situation

Any additional comments?

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!