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Milk!

A 10,000-Year Food Fracas
Narrated by: Brian Sutherland
Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)
Regular price: $25.08
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Publisher's Summary

Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the best-selling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic and culinary story of milk and all things dairy - with recipes throughout. 

According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself. 

Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the 19th century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization. 

Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics and economics. 

©2018 Mark Kurlansky (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas is a feat of investigation, compilation and organization.... Altogether a complex and rich survey, Milk! is a book well worth nursing." (Wall Street Journal)

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Horrible narration nearly kills Kurlansky

I have been a fan of Mark Kurlansky for many years but this is the first audio book I've experienced. Brian Sutherland's narration is a colorless monotone which leads me to believe that he was thoroughly bored by the topic. With a different narrator, Milk! would have been a thrilling history but Sutherland makes it as interesting as reading a telephone directory. What a shame!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Great writing, horrible narration

Kurlansky is a genius researcher and writer, the only reason I was able to endure the atrociously bland narrator. (Lots of mispronunciations of foreign words, too.)

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Narration is TERRIBLE

It feels like a computer is automatically pronouncing a list of comma separated words, couldn't make it through the first chapter.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I'm generally a Krulansky fan, but...

I'm only on Chapter 5, but I've got to say, I'm disappointed. So far, way too many recipes, too little interesting information.
And the narrator... Not just the style, but I'm really worried about the pronunciation. I've read many times that, Boston Celtics notwithstanding, Celt is pronounced "Kelt", not "Selt". And that's just one of several questionable pronunciations I've encountered. Where are the editors here? I expect more of professional narration.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good book, terrible narration

Worst narrating I have ever heard. He literally sounds like a computer. Inflections in the wrong places, odd pronunciations, flat affect. Well written book with lots of good information though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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This Milk has gone off..

Not Kurlansky’s best but still interesting. What totally spoiled it for me was the narrator - if Siri had a sex change and read a book out loud it would sound like this! Oddly paced and weirdly emphasized, it was hard to get through. I finished it but not a keeper.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book undermined by robotic voice performance

This is my fourth book from Mark Kurlansky, and unfortunately it's the worst. I love his books, so it's still pretty decent, although it's not his best in terms of pure content. What knocks it further is the awful narration. The oddly placed and distracting pauses, in addition to some of the pronunciation issues, had me thinking the narrator's name was a stage name for a computerized translation bot. A bit of searching indicates the narrator is an actual flesh and blood human, although I wouldn't have suspected that from the performance.

If you want to see a great Kurlansky book made even better by a phenomenal voice performance, check out "Salt".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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more a recipe book then exploration. boring

his previous work was really interesting. but this book is half recipe listings. an audio book of recipes is just silly. I dumped the book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Interesting, but scientifically inaccurate.

I enjoyed the book, though as a dairy scientist, I was appalled at the scientific inaccuracies throughoutout the book. While I enjoyed the historical and anthropological parts of the book, I worry that those parts might be as wrong as the sections on science and husbandry.

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Sour milk turns to sweet cream

The first four or five chapters of this book are a monotonous recitation of the many types of dairy products that humans have consumed throughout history. Listener/reader, be patient and wait for the stories of culture and science around a single topic that are the hallmark of Kurlansky’s books. Kurlansky can be quite drol, but this only emerges after the first quarter of the book.

It was a mistake for the audiobook to include the more than 100 recipes that appear in the text. These should have been placed at the end of the recording so that interested listeners could access them, without interrupting the main text. Recommended.