All Natural*: *A Skeptic’s Quest for Health and Happiness in an Age of Ecological Anxiety

Nathanael Johnson. Rodale, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60529-074-4
Why are severe injuries to women during childbirth increasing in the U.S.? Can our prevailing assumptions about diet and nutrition “to a large extent be responsible for the epidemics in heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis”? How can humans be a functional, helpful part of nature rather than destroying it? These are some of the questions that journalist Johnson explores in his quest to “unravel the confusion surrounding technology and nature.” His vehicle for investigation is wonder, which he proposes to be “the place shared by the rigorous science of the technological perspective and the creative free thinking of the natural perspective.” Johnson was raised by hippyesque parents in the alternate lifestyle enclave of Nevada City, Calif., and his anxieties and struggles around such issues as computer games, the hiking epiphanies of his childhood, and home vs. hospital birth for his newly pregnant wife intertwine with his musings. Johnson, who studied with Michael Pollen at UC Berkeley, takes a similarly open-minded, nonideological approach, and Pollen’s fans, as well as other readers grappling with the flood of conflicting information about how to live a healthy, nondestructive life, will appreciate this book’s thoughtful and nuanced attitude and its often surprising conclusions. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012
Release date: 01/29/2013
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