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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

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  • JP
  • Washington, D.C.
  • 05-16-16

struggled to finish

Just don't read this book if you are into animal rights or feminism. There are almost no women to speak of and Pollan describes animal in an incredibly biased and self-serving way. There is very little science and most of the book consists of the ramblings of a northern Californian elitist who wants to get back a spiritual connection to the earth.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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captivating and so Mr. Pollan

Michael Pollan is arguably one of my favorite authors these days. I so appreciate his in-depth investigations and explorations of our food and where it comes from. As someone committed to teaching Next Generation to be curious about their food and where it comes from, I thoroughly enjoyed every morsel of this book.

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A must, absolute MUST read

This should be a must read for every student. For every parent. For every person who has a garden or goes to a farmers market. For every person who has an interest in government and government regulations. This is a must read for every person who is in the food industry.
It's a must read for anybody who actually eats food. Any food.
Eye opening information that will change the way you look at food.

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  • brandi
  • PITTSBURGH, PA, United States
  • 05-01-16

Eye opening without bits of horror.

Wonderful look at the foods we eat and how it relates to the world around us. Michael Pollan gives a fascinating perspective to our diets and doesn't include horrific details of animal welfare. I recommend this book to anyone who is ready for a slightly deeper look at the food on their table.

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Excellent reminder of where food really comes from

Such a good book; it should be required reading for everyone. I love meat, but we should all step back and eat less, but higher quality meat.

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Great. Not a page-turner, amazing insight...

Great. Not a page-turner, but amazing insight into the cultural, ethical, and physical impacts of food

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Important information that you should know

A little dated now but still very important information about the way we eat and how our food comes about. Loved hearing about the "grass" farmer. It's going to change how I look at food and what I eat from now on. The reader mispronounced some words and was slightly monotone but it's a long book and I made it through.

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Amazing and insightful book. A must read.

I started listening to this after watching Michael Pollan's Cooked series on Netflix. I must say it was a great decision.

I have to admit that this book has had a profound effect on my life and how I see the world of food around me. It has inspired me to learn how to cook more of my own food and to explore deeply where my food is coming from. It brought up many moral questions about my food and I think everyone should be asking themselves a lot of the same questions.

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A little too long

I like Polan, but his narrative could be shorter. Learnt a lot about food and some issues, his rant on Industrial Ag, and his romanticizing locally grown. Both valid, but no solution for feeding the world. Overall good book

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Very interesting sections, but too melodramatic

Struggled to finish. First three sections very interesting. Last section was pretty self-absorbed. Narrator was melodramatic and sing-song.