cover image Dead Meat

Dead Meat

Sue Coe. Four Walls Eight Windows, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56858-041-8

Political artist Coe spent years visiting slaughterhouses and meat farms in the U.S., Canada and England, all the while drawing and writing about what she saw. The result is a fascinating and revealing portrait of the institutions behind the meat we eat. Coe's illustrations, which appear regularly in such publications as the New York Times and the New Yorker, have the sharply lined, affecting realism of a Diego Rivera mural. Her first-person account is matter-of-fact, thoughtful and engaging. Coe's book is political, and she clearly hopes it will make readers think twice about what they put into their mouths, but she does not preach and is unafraid to confront her own complicity: ""Every dollar I get drips with blood too,"" she writes. Her empathetic rendering of the workers she encounters is reminiscent of Studs Terkel at his best, and the parallels she draws between society's treatment of meat animals and its working classes are disturbing and convincing. Cockburn's introductory essay traces the history of the meat industry with his customary shrewd sociopolitical insight, but without falling into polemics. Dead Meat will appeal not just to those interested in animal rights, but to anyone who cares about how society functions. (Mar.)