In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

Maureen Ogle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-15-101340-1
Ogle (Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer) lucidly demonstrates how the “American meat-making machine” came to span the entire continent, from the “grass-rich range of the Far West” to “slaughterhouses and wholesale markets at the other [end of the country],” with farmers squeezed throughout the middle. Ogle tracks the rise of factory farming, the introduction of subsidies for farmers, and the use of chemicals in animal husbandry, each in light of the consumer-advocacy backlash that spawned the organic and alt-agriculture movements. Ogle’s quick wit helps her corral such a large topic, keeping the involved history to an easily digestible format. Given the recent onslaught of publications picking sides on the issues of food production, Ogle’s bipartisan approach is a breath of fresh air. In fact, if Ogle has issue with anyone in the food chain, it is the American people and “our sense of entitlement and the way it contributes to the high cost of cheap living.” This type of straightforwardness might make the book hard to stomach for some, but it can’t be denied that Ogle has served up a lot of truth. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/19/2013
Release date: 11/12/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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