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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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Holly
  • Grantsville, UT, USA
  • 05-29-08

Eye Opening

This a great "read" for anyone who likes to know where their food comes from. The last quarter of the book (I feel) gets a little melodramatic and corny when starts talking about all of his feelings surrounding hunting. It's a little self-indulgent but the first three quarters are so great, I can forgive it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Thoroughly enjoyable

Mr. Pollan seems to have done his homework, and does a great job of weaving his findings into a thoroughly enjoyable (and for the most part, mouth-watering) account of four meals.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ralph
  • Newberry, SC, USA
  • 03-16-08

Dry listen - but interesting

I found the information to be very interesting and the book was an easy one to get through. It seemed a little dry, but it really made me think and changed a lot of my perspective involving food.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Gainesville, FL, USA
  • 11-25-07

Welcome Dose of Reality

This book will change the way you think about food.

Whether it's the impact of pesticides and other agribusiness practices, or the impact of the price of oil, this book will open your eyes. I was amazed at the sheer complexity and fragility of the food chain we've constructed for ourselves.

This book is masterfully written and narrated. Its depressingly frank look at modern reality is interspersed with humor to keep the mood honest, but relatively light.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Greg
  • Lansing, MI, USA
  • 10-01-07

Best book ever!

If you eat you should buy this book! I was expecting a network tv "shock value" approach. Nope. Just well considered and researched information from a balanced perspective. I should add INTERESTING. I no longer feel guilty about eating meat (as long as I buy it from a local reputable farmer).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Omnivore's Dilemma

This was a fascinating book. I learned so much about the food industry and it's global impact. I also understand the term sustainable agriculture much better. This work was presented in a novel-like way. It was very interesting and not dry. I wish we had more sources for good food. Asking for what you want is important. The more people that ask, the more likely corporate America will respond.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elton
  • Los angeles, CA, United States
  • 04-29-07

Corn as a Four Letter Word

So I guess Pollen doesn't like corn...I liked this book, but one thing I could not understand is the extravegant nature and methods Pollen uses to do the mundane. The lengths he goes to just to prepare a natural meal are pretty extraordinary. We do need greater transparency, especially when it comes to knowing what we are putting in our bodies for sustinance. This is clear...but I disagree with some of the subtle over statements and poor choices made by the author. He has a good point, but he should have fought the urge to indulge.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rob
  • Ramona, CA, USA
  • 03-29-07

Remain an Omnivore

A thoroughly enjoyable listen!

The book is not gross or aimed at converting you to any mode of eating. Rather it is informative and empowers you to make better choices, if you like. You will not be "SCARED STARVED."

We Americans should become more aware of our food sources. I shared many points I learned in this book with my friends and found them hopelessly unaware of their food. I felt proud to enlighten them, however slightly, as Michael Pollan has me in a very large way.

Michael lays out the story of food and its source with an entertaining style delivering a lot of digestible information along the way; truly informative and educational.

Scott Brick is the perfect reader for this book. His delivery is clear and provides emphasis as if he were the source of the story. The humor within is delivered nicely.

I remain an omnivore!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent!

This was very well written and read. Eye opening at times and held my attention throughout. It certainly has given me "food" for thought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Worth Listening to This One

Any discussion of food in the context of what one should eat and why is bound to have a strong point of view behind the prose. Such is the case with this book. I was fascinated by the author's presentation, since he obviously loves food and tried very hard to remain objective as he showed how organic food has progressed from counter-culture to mainstream. The discussion of the organic food industry is one of the best I have ever seen. I highly recommend this book for that reason. The remainder of the book is also very interesting and enlightening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful