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Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal
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HMH Books 2021
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"Epic and engrossing." —The New York Times Book Review
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and pioneering journalist, an expansive look at how history has been shaped by humanity's appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all—and how a better future is within reach.
The story of humankind is usually told as one of technological innovation and economic influence—of arrowheads and atomic bombs, settlers and stock markets. But behind it all, there is an even more fundamental driver: Food.

In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, trusted food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments, from slavery and colonialism to famine and genocide—and to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people. Even still, Bittman refuses to concede that the battle is lost, pointing to activists, workers, and governments around the world who are choosing well-being over corporate greed and gluttony, and fighting to free society from Big Food's grip.

Sweeping, impassioned, and ultimately full of hope, Animal, Vegetable, Junk reveals not only how food has shaped our past, but also how we can transform it to reclaim our future.

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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/02/2021
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781328971623
ASIN:
B081TR3M7F
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APA Citation (style guide)

Mark Bittman. (2021). Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal. HMH Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mark Bittman. 2021. Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, From Sustainable to Suicidal. HMH Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mark Bittman, Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, From Sustainable to Suicidal. HMH Books, 2021.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mark Bittman. Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, From Sustainable to Suicidal. HMH Books, 2021. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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"Epic and engrossing." —The New York Times Book Review
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and pioneering journalist, an expansive look at how history has been shaped by humanity's appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all—and how a better future is within reach.
The story of humankind is usually told as one of technological innovation and economic influence—of arrowheads and atomic bombs, settlers and stock markets. But behind it all, there is an even more fundamental driver: Food.

In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, trusted food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments, from slavery and colonialism to famine and genocide—and to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people. Even still, Bittman refuses to...

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fullDescription

"Epic and engrossing." —The New York Times Book Review
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and pioneering journalist, an expansive look at how history has been shaped by humanity's appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all—and how a better future is within reach.
The story of humankind is usually told as one of technological innovation and economic influence—of arrowheads and atomic bombs, settlers and stock markets. But behind it all, there is an even more fundamental driver: Food.

In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, trusted food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments, from slavery and colonialism to famine and genocide—and to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people. Even still, Bittman refuses to concede that the battle is lost, pointing to activists, workers, and governments around the world who are choosing well-being over corporate greed and gluttony, and fighting to free society from Big Food's grip.

Sweeping, impassioned, and ultimately full of hope, Animal, Vegetable, Junk reveals not only how food has shaped our past, but also how we can transform it to reclaim our future.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 15, 2020
        An urgent call to action from a noted food journalist. Offering a sweeping history of the ways humans have procured, processed, and consumed food, Bittman focuses on the political, social, cultural, and environmental consequences of the transformation from hunting and gathering to agriculture and of the increased industrialization of the food system. Like authors such as Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari, Bittman asserts that agriculture "sparked disputes over landownership, water use, and the extraction of resources" and has "driven exploitation and injustice, slavery and war." Colonial powers forced Indigenous people to farm crops that benefited Europeans, "establishing cash-crop monoculture" for maximum profits. Soil depletion spurred a search for fertilizer, from bird droppings ("guano-mania" raged in 19th-century Europe) to ammonia-based chemicals. Machinery, pesticides, and governmental policies abetted industrialized farming: a "push to grow larger and focus on one crop." The author decries the wanton creation of "engineered edible substances," which he urges consumers to resist with their wallets and their votes. "Today," he writes, "government subsidizes a harmful form of production that produces a harmful form of food and forces it into markets everywhere." The food industry has no motivation to make major revisions; unlike some observers, Bittman is skeptical that "buying right" will lead to reform. "The system itself needs to be changed, its values and goals challenged and reimagined," he writes. "We need legislation to support agriculture that stewards the land. We need food processing whose goal is to nourish. And we need an economy that supports people who want to grow and cook food for their communities. Those will come about when citizens organize and force government to do its job. A good diet will follow." Underscoring the connection among food, human rights, climate change, and justice, the author forcefully urges both personal and societal change--e.g., the Green New Deal. "The choice," he writes, "is to change the system or suffer catastrophe." An expert's vigorous argument for systemic food reform.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 1, 2020
        Food maven Bittman (How to Cook Everything, 2019; How to Eat, 2020) turns his wide-ranging attention to how foods arrive on the nation's home and restaurant tables. What he discovers is not appetizing. Surveying anthropological evidence, Bittman believes humans' omnivorous diet gave them an initial advantage over less adaptable species. But in the modern era, the intersection of agriculture and industry no longer works to people's benefit. Little in the present food world escapes his critical eye, but Bittman cautions against deterministic analysis, noting that food is inextricably interwoven with cultural, economic, geographic, and political issues. Monoculture, maximizing profit by focusing on raising one crop or animal, has distorted the ability of soils and water supplies to replenish themselves, resulting in foods that are less nutritious. Agriculture has become as unsustainably extractive and exploitative as mining. Both climate change and pandemic have revealed dangerous flaws in the world's food distribution systems. Moreover, liabilities from this broken system fall more severely on minority communities, and deceptive food marketing techniques prove as unhealthy as political propaganda. To ameliorate this situation, Bittman advocates for agroecology, attentiveness to nature's interlocking components by producers and consumers alike. Bittman's work is certain to increase controversy over the future of food.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2021

        Asking "What would a just food system look like?," Bittman considers the place of food in history and the role agriculture plays in human rights, climate change, and social justice. The first part of the book is heavy on history, examining the evolutionary aspects of diet, agriculture, and human consumption, along with sustainability, the importance of soil, and the connection between civilization and agriculture, including the impact of colonialism and political discourse on famine. The second part considers the current state of the modern (mostly Western) diet, factory farming, and the rise of junk food, while the last chapters offers hope and the possibility that we might establish sustainable alternatives to industrial agriculture. Bittman also moves through food and agriculture history to recount the impact of the potato famine in Ireland and how food administrator turned president Herbert Hoover politicized food in order to win office. Bittman's writing can be dense, but he provides a wealth of information, from the "birth of growing" to the history of factory farming, monoculture, "junk," and the future of agroecology. VERDICT Recommended for readers of food and diet history and those interested in the future of agriculture and sustainable farming. --Gricel Dominguez, Florida International Univ. Lib., Miami

        Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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