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5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly thought provoking, 29 July 2012
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I bought this book on the recommendation of an American foodie friend. As a supporter of the organic, sustainable, buy local, Slow Food, biodynamic and so on, movements, I must say I didn't expect to learn much but it is very well written and researched. It is seriously scary how far down the path of industrial agriculture the US has gone. No doubt the rest of the world is following in many respects. I was hoping for some sort of proposed solution at the end but it was left a little up in the air. Read it and let me know how we can halt the progression of this form of food production.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read, 24 April 2012
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F. Jones (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I can't rate this book highly enough. A real eye-opener, food for thought etc. Other reviewers have said all that needs to be said about what Pollan covers. The book is well researched, well written and very readable. His writing is informed mainly by his own research and experiences but also by extensive reading. I really enjoyed his style and honesty but the world he exposes is frightening. He doesn't offer solutions, the problem is too big, too institutional, but he does make you think and that's got to be good. Joel Salatin is a hero.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well documented and explained, it's a great book., 19 Dec 2010
I love the way it takes you from two different ways one the comercial one and the other one the traditional one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Garden City, Kansas, 1 Dec 2010
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John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
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Spring approaches. It's azaleas in Atlanta, cherry blossoms in Washington, and further a field, in Kyoto. On the high plains it is wind. Mr. Pollen did not write a travel book, but because of him I'll be off to visit Garden City, Kansas, inspired by such lines as: "Yet I'm sure that after enough time goes by, and the stink of this place is gone from my nostrils, I will eat feedlot beef again. Eating industrial meat takes an almost heroic act of not knowing or, now, forgetting." He followed the cow that he purchased in South Dakota to Garden City, saw the feedlot where the cows are pumped full of antibiotics, and was overwhelmed by the smell of the products destined for so many stomachs.

This is a rich book, on several dimensions. Just to read it for the sheer knowledge it imparts - how corn accidentally came to dominate our diets, and our lives. How the diet of cows was transformed from grass to corn. He takes a hard look at the politics behind such a transformation, identify Earl Butz, Nixon's Secretary of Agriculture, as being the key individual in bringing us the era of cheap corn. He looks at that will-o-wisp called "costs", and shows how government policies provided tremendous subsidies so that corn would become a "welfare queen."

The book's structure is centered on four different kinds of meals: industrial, big organic, local organic, and the one that was hunted / collected by the eater. One is allowed to ponder how all this time and energy which is tied to the industrial meal makes our food so much worse. Mr. Pollen takes us inside General Mills in Minneapolis, where amid much secrecy very highly-paid individuals are paid to devise food products so that Americans will eat even more, because "Wall Street" demands greater growth than the increase in food consumption which would occur through normal population growth. He takes us to "industrial organic" in California, and truly explains how "organic" is so often "not very." He is never permitted inside a real slaughter house - the companies get away with this prohibition by claiming a need for "food security." He recommends glass abattoirs to improve the process, as was approximated at the local organic farm in the Shenandoah Valley. And with considerably resourcefulness and willingness to venture into new fields, he hunts his own food for one meal.

He is wonderfully erudite, and surprises with such gems as: "For Isaac, the nugget is a distinct taste of childhood, quite apart from chicken, and no doubt a future vehicle of nostalgia - a madeleine in the making." He has brought together numerous disciplines to produce this book - truly one of the essential reads of the year, and one that will quite possibly modify your life. He modified mine; now I will experience spring in Garden City, to overcome the "not knowing." See you there!

(Note: Review first published at Amazon, USA, on March 25, 2008)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The most readable non-fiction book I've ever picked up, 21 Sep 2010
I'd never read anything like this when I first picked it up, so perhaps because it was my first of its kind, I have a bias towards it. It's incredibly readable, inherently fascinating, very well-written with excellent anecdotes and background, and it piqued my curiosity to learn more about the food chain, what we eat and why.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, 5 Sep 2010
I bought this on the back or reading Food Rules. I was looking for a bit more information and background on the production of food.

And it certainly lifts the lid on the industrialisation of food production and factory farming. Well thought out and well written.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake Up Call, 15 April 2008
By 
Norma Lehmeierhartie (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
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Like An Inconvenient Truth, The Omnivore's Dilemma is a wake up call to the realities of the present day and a warning that our current lifestyles are unsustainable.

The Omnivore's Dilemma brought to mind another book--the classic, The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)by John Steinbeck. Published in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath took place during The Great Depression. I recently re-read the book and was struck by how connected to the earth most Americans used to be.

In the past two hundred years, America has gone from a mostly rural population to a country where the majority of the nation lives in cities, suburbs or exurbs. In "the olden days,"people farmed, hunted and fished; they made their own clothing, food and shelter. People were attached to the land and to nature. In The Grapes of Wrath we see how many farming families in the Midwest were forced out of their homes. Through one character's experience, we are shown how the pain of leaving his beloved land and home was so devastating that it literally killed him.

Contrast that to how disconnected so many of us are to the food we eat, the environment and the welfare of animals today. We actually need a book to tell us where our food comes from!

I finished this book with a renewed commitment to growing my own vegetables and for purchasing as much food as I can from local farmers.

Author of the award winning book,Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet
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