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Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth

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From John Robbins, a new edition of the classic that awakened the conscience of a nation. Since the 1987 publication of Diet for a New America, beef consumption in the United States has fallen a remarkable 19%. While many forces are contributing to this dramatic shift in our habits, Diet for a New America is considered to be one of the most important. Diet for a New Americ From John Robbins, a new edition of the classic that awakened the conscience of a nation. Since the 1987 publication of Diet for a New America, beef consumption in the United States has fallen a remarkable 19%. While many forces are contributing to this dramatic shift in our habits, Diet for a New America is considered to be one of the most important. Diet for a New America is a startling examination of the food we currently buy and eat in the United States, and the astounding moral, economic, and emotional price we pay for it. In Section I, John Robbins takes an extraordinary look at our dependence on animals for food and the inhumane conditions under which these animals are raised. It becomes clear that the price we pay for our eating habits is measured in the suffering of animals, a suffering so extreme and needless that it disrupts our very place in the web of life. Section II challenges the belief that consuming meat is a requirement for health by pointing our the vastly increased rate of disease caused by pesticides, hormones, additives, and other chemicals now a routine part of our food production. The author shows us that the high health risk is unnecessary, and that the production, preparation, and consumption of food can once again be a healthy process. In Section III, Robbins looks at the global implications of a meat-based diet and concludes that the consumption of the resources necessary to produce meat is a major factor in our ecological crisis. Diet for a New America is the single most eloquent argument for a vegetarian lifestyle ever published. Eloquently, evocatively, and entertainingly written, it is a cant put down book guaranteed to amaze, infuriate, but ultimately educate and empower the reader. A pivotal book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 1987.


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From John Robbins, a new edition of the classic that awakened the conscience of a nation. Since the 1987 publication of Diet for a New America, beef consumption in the United States has fallen a remarkable 19%. While many forces are contributing to this dramatic shift in our habits, Diet for a New America is considered to be one of the most important. Diet for a New Americ From John Robbins, a new edition of the classic that awakened the conscience of a nation. Since the 1987 publication of Diet for a New America, beef consumption in the United States has fallen a remarkable 19%. While many forces are contributing to this dramatic shift in our habits, Diet for a New America is considered to be one of the most important. Diet for a New America is a startling examination of the food we currently buy and eat in the United States, and the astounding moral, economic, and emotional price we pay for it. In Section I, John Robbins takes an extraordinary look at our dependence on animals for food and the inhumane conditions under which these animals are raised. It becomes clear that the price we pay for our eating habits is measured in the suffering of animals, a suffering so extreme and needless that it disrupts our very place in the web of life. Section II challenges the belief that consuming meat is a requirement for health by pointing our the vastly increased rate of disease caused by pesticides, hormones, additives, and other chemicals now a routine part of our food production. The author shows us that the high health risk is unnecessary, and that the production, preparation, and consumption of food can once again be a healthy process. In Section III, Robbins looks at the global implications of a meat-based diet and concludes that the consumption of the resources necessary to produce meat is a major factor in our ecological crisis. Diet for a New America is the single most eloquent argument for a vegetarian lifestyle ever published. Eloquently, evocatively, and entertainingly written, it is a cant put down book guaranteed to amaze, infuriate, but ultimately educate and empower the reader. A pivotal book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 1987.

30 review for Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    The experience of transitioning into veganism was, for me, one of "coming out." Over the course of a week in March of 1993, I stopped wanting to eat dairy, eggs, sugar, chocolate, or anything artificial. I didn't completely know why I was I doing this other than it was what my body needed. The first books I read about veganism were cookbooks that focused on recipes and a smattering of nutrition. I figured I'd get around to learning about the moral, ethical and environmental merits of veganism la The experience of transitioning into veganism was, for me, one of "coming out." Over the course of a week in March of 1993, I stopped wanting to eat dairy, eggs, sugar, chocolate, or anything artificial. I didn't completely know why I was I doing this other than it was what my body needed. The first books I read about veganism were cookbooks that focused on recipes and a smattering of nutrition. I figured I'd get around to learning about the moral, ethical and environmental merits of veganism later, and Diet for a New America was what I turned to. Robbins story is extremely compelling: the heir to the Baskin Robbins ice cream empire gave it all up when he decided that dairy products were evil, and decided to fight for animal-free eating instead. This book lays out the facts about industrial farming, prefaced by some heart-warming passages about how cute and loving and intelligent various species are so as to instill pity in the reader. The result is a bit nauseating in two ways: firstly because of Robbins' whiny "poor piggy" tone, secondly because descriptions of factory farming in the U.S. make the Jewish Holocaust sound like a trip the beach. The attitude expressed in Diet for a New America exemplifies exactly why I rarely take my vegan politics past the kitchen. Experience has shown me that feeding someone horror stories about garbage bags full of baby chicks is less effective than feeding them it's opposite: really good food, whcih happens to be vegan.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I have been 95% vegan now for two years and finally got around to reading this classic expose of American factory farming, food industry propaganda and brainwashing, and environmental destruction, plus so much more. Written in 1987 by the heir to the Baskin-Robbins empire, Robbins' book was highly influential and shocking at the time. These days, with Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan's proselytizing on organic produce, and, really, the Internet's vast stores of information on feedlots and food p I have been 95% vegan now for two years and finally got around to reading this classic expose of American factory farming, food industry propaganda and brainwashing, and environmental destruction, plus so much more. Written in 1987 by the heir to the Baskin-Robbins empire, Robbins' book was highly influential and shocking at the time. These days, with Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan's proselytizing on organic produce, and, really, the Internet's vast stores of information on feedlots and food politics, none of the information here is that shocking or new. Still, it's incredible to read and to understand WHY brainwashed ideas like the Protein Myth and the Calcium Myth exist ~ how they were created (by the food industries themselves) and perpetuated (advertising dollars!). On the plus side, the availability of organic food and the rise of viral (no pun intended) information about the environmental destruction caused by factory farming HAS created a small shift over the last 22 years. On the downside, unfortunately, NOT that much has ultimately changed. I don't condone preaching veganism because that's not an effective way to get the point across, but this book is a great resource for vegans (or wannabes) who would really like to know what they're talking about and choose to lead or inspire by example.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    This is the book that introduced me to veganism. It makes compelling arguments for eliminating animal products, and happily living on all plant products for all you consume. Talks about the ramifications of animal vs. plant products concentrating on 3 aspects: for the animals, for the earth, for human health. If you care about the future of the earth and its inhabitants, you'll be interested in this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Dyson Eitelman

    Why couldn't I have read this when it was published in 1987, before I brainwashed two innocent children into the same screwed up fallacies about nutrition that I was raised on? I remember reading the pregnancy and first year books and believing all of the nonsense they taught me. Must have balanced protein. Must drink milk. Animal cholesterol required for growing brain. Must take prenatal vitamins. And all this hogwash is based on (1) Western cultural history (2) studies on rats who were fed milk Why couldn't I have read this when it was published in 1987, before I brainwashed two innocent children into the same screwed up fallacies about nutrition that I was raised on? I remember reading the pregnancy and first year books and believing all of the nonsense they taught me. Must have balanced protein. Must drink milk. Animal cholesterol required for growing brain. Must take prenatal vitamins. And all this hogwash is based on (1) Western cultural history (2) studies on rats who were fed milk protein (3) the wisdom of agriculture. The idea that cows' milk is good for human beings reminds me strongly of sympathetic magic--walnuts look like little brains, therefore they must be good for the brain. If I'd put the book together, I'd have inverted the order--first would have came the health section, second the one on big business, and last the ethical implications of eating the way we do. Pull people in by convincing them that a non-animal based diet is better for them; freak them out by pointing out how much power the American agribusiness giants have over our schools; then show them what life is really like for the animals in a CAFO. But that's me. I skimmed the sections on animal farming--I already know just how screwed up the process has become. Any more would bring on nightmares. I hope my new healthy diet will offset the unhealthy anger I feel every time I think about how we've let big business sell our society on "milk for healthy bones", "the incredible edible egg", or "meat will make us strong." And if it doesn't, we'll find a drug to fix it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lain

    I know I should love this book, or at least consider it life-changing, but I just could not muscle my way through it. The typos and poor grammar had me questioning everything (if you can't bother to proof-read, did you bother to fact check?). And the individual anecdotes, cute though they were about dogs tracking hundreds of miles to find their owners and hens who surrogate parented ducks did not have the intended effect of making me see animals as more like "us." In fact, the whole idea of cond I know I should love this book, or at least consider it life-changing, but I just could not muscle my way through it. The typos and poor grammar had me questioning everything (if you can't bother to proof-read, did you bother to fact check?). And the individual anecdotes, cute though they were about dogs tracking hundreds of miles to find their owners and hens who surrogate parented ducks did not have the intended effect of making me see animals as more like "us." In fact, the whole idea of condemning anthropomorphism in one paragraph then making us feel like animals are just furry humans made me throw my hands up. I am a vegan, and I condemn poor treatment of animals and the focus on meat in the American diet. But this book didn't make me feel more strongly about my beliefs -- in fact, I found myself at times sympathizing with the "murderers and oppressors," just because the whole thing was so over the top. I feel bad about the rating I'm giving this book. But I feel worse about the time I wasted reading it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lin

    He was a millionaire twice over. He produced and sold more ice cream than anyone on the earth at the time. But when it was John Robbins turned to take over the Baskin-Robbins (31 Flavors) ice cream empire from his father Irvine, he left, leaving his fortune behind. Diet For a New America (HJ Kramer Publishing, 1987), is Robbins’ potent condemnation of American food consumption and is a revealing expose of the truths about the meat and dairy industries. Robbins’ father lived the materialistic Ame He was a millionaire twice over. He produced and sold more ice cream than anyone on the earth at the time. But when it was John Robbins turned to take over the Baskin-Robbins (31 Flavors) ice cream empire from his father Irvine, he left, leaving his fortune behind. Diet For a New America (HJ Kramer Publishing, 1987), is Robbins’ potent condemnation of American food consumption and is a revealing expose of the truths about the meat and dairy industries. Robbins’ father lived the materialistic American dream, an ice cream cone-shaped swimming pool at their Long Island home was just a sweet topping to their vast lifestyle. “But the more I have uncovered about the dark side of the Great American Food Machine, the more appropriate it has felt to decline the opportunity to be part of it, explains Robbins. “I wanted my steps to be guided by a reverence for life." In a tender voice, Robbins lays out the health, ecological and moral arguments to live a different lifestyle; he is a vegan. But Robbins is quick to tell readers you don’t have to be even a vegetarian to be health conscious and want your life to be a statement about compassion. “It’s not the killing of animals that is the chief issue here, but rather the unspeakable quality of the lives they are forced to live." He demonstrates why a compassionate society cannot be built upon an inhumane system of food creation. The effects of the animal food habit is enormous with cancer, heart disease and other modern food health disorders on the rise. If consumption from the Great American Food Machine stopped, food costs would go down, medical costs drop, personal savings increase, and debt pressures would ease. Grain fed to fatten livestock could be feeding five times the U.S. population and help the starving throughout the world. Forests would not be destroyed for grazing purposes and oxygen producing trees no longer surrendered for cholesterol producing meals. Factory farms would not take away the water supply and 90 percent of fossil fuels used to produce food would be available. And then, there is the appalling holocaust of the animals. “The suffering these animals undergo has become so extreme that to partake of food from these creatures is to partake unknowingly of the abject misery that has been their lives," he details. When cattle, pigs and chickens are slain the glandular responses pump adrenaline into their bodies. Their flesh is filled with fear and rage. Eaters ingest that. It is bad karma. “If we stop ingesting fear and anger, acting out of respect for all beings gives us greater respect for ourselves,” explains Robbins. The book eloquently lays out photo after photo of beautiful, caring animal relationships -- cows, pigs and chickens bonding with their babies, then shows the abhorrent conditions these beautiful sentient beings suffer in factory farms. Diet For a New America offers no rules the reader should follow. But gives easy-to-understand nutritional research to help readers choose food that will make them healthier and happier the longer they eat them. Robbins’ book is a riveting testimony in helping readers to rediscover their place in nature, learning how to live harmoniously with themselves, each other and the natural world. It is the story of the American dream. But not the dream of the ice cream cone-shaped swimming pool of unlimited consumption, it is a new dream -- one of unlimited compassion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marshall

    This is one of the pivotal vegetarian advocacy books. Now I understand why. Reading this book made me a vegetarian all over again. My understanding of the issues that led to my decision to become vegetarian is only a fraction of what this book covers. I was truly astonished by what this book revealed. I really understood how so much of the meat industry depends on ignorance and deception. It starts out by going straight for the heart. It talks about what animals are like--what they're really like This is one of the pivotal vegetarian advocacy books. Now I understand why. Reading this book made me a vegetarian all over again. My understanding of the issues that led to my decision to become vegetarian is only a fraction of what this book covers. I was truly astonished by what this book revealed. I really understood how so much of the meat industry depends on ignorance and deception. It starts out by going straight for the heart. It talks about what animals are like--what they're really like, not the popular misconceptions. It really shows just how sentient these creatures are, how they can obviously feel compassion and pain. Then it shows just how awfully these sweet creatures are treated as they're raised for slaughter. It's horrific. Truly, terribly horrific. No living creature should be treated like that. The next section is devoted to the endless list of health problems that have been tied to excessive meat consumption. He does fall into the fallacy that correlation implies causation, but much of the data presented here was nonetheless persuasive. My favorite part here was the dispelling of the myth that people can't get their protein needs without meat or animal-based foods. The last section talked about some of the pesticides and poisons used in the raising of animals for slaughter, and the effects these have had on the ecosystem, water, and human breastmilk. But the very last chapter was a disappointment. In its discussion of the environment, it never mentioned global warming and the power of vegetarianism to limit greenhouse gases. The last chapter also makes wild claims that our economic woes can be solved with vegetarianism, not to mention world peace. Nevertheless, this book is a win, overall. I can't imagine anyone remaining a heavy meat eater after reading this book. That doesn't mean being vegetarian or vegan, eliminating meat entirely, but I definitely expect a change in diet to manifest as a result of this book. I challenge every meat eater to read it, to see all the ways they've been ignorant about what they put in their bodies, and this enormous industry they employ in order for them to do so.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Eye opening facts about the food system. However, it only focuses on animal products and not the mass deforestation to promote corn, soy, and wheat fields to feed a vegetarian diet.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Winfield Sterling

    I read Robbin's book many years ago and was totally convinced by his arguments -- and became a vegetarian. I was so radical that I convinced myself that I disliked the smell and taste of beef. Somehow, over the years, I freed myself from this obsession and slowly began to eat meat again. Then I read "The Big Fat Surprise" by Nina Telcholtz. It changed my life for the better when I realized that a high carbohydrate diet of processed sugar, flour, etc. have cause the epidemic of obesity and diabet I read Robbin's book many years ago and was totally convinced by his arguments -- and became a vegetarian. I was so radical that I convinced myself that I disliked the smell and taste of beef. Somehow, over the years, I freed myself from this obsession and slowly began to eat meat again. Then I read "The Big Fat Surprise" by Nina Telcholtz. It changed my life for the better when I realized that a high carbohydrate diet of processed sugar, flour, etc. have cause the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in the world. I learned about the miracles of ketogenesis and my weight and health became stable -- as near to ideal as possible for an 83 year-old man. As I re-read Robbin's book, I wonder why he chose the title "Diet for a New America" -- which sounds like a punch-line for a Marxist type revolution to remake America. Well, I believe any civilization can be improved, but I also believe in evolution not revolution. We don't need a "new" America.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris Mcmullen

    This book was a very detailed depiction of where our food comes from here in America and how it affects our diet, our health, our community, and the effect it has on our planet. The book starts with stories of human encounters with animals in which animals prove to understand more than what most people think. It is clear that animals have the capacity to show love, gratitude, and friendship toward people, however, it is even more clear that they feel pain and they hurt just as humans do when the This book was a very detailed depiction of where our food comes from here in America and how it affects our diet, our health, our community, and the effect it has on our planet. The book starts with stories of human encounters with animals in which animals prove to understand more than what most people think. It is clear that animals have the capacity to show love, gratitude, and friendship toward people, however, it is even more clear that they feel pain and they hurt just as humans do when they are mistreated, abused, and chopped up for dinner. I was already a vegan before I read this book, so for me, it re-affirmed my already confident and educated decision to be come vegan. The book can seem wordy and technical at points as it enters into the second half of the book which is more on the scientific side of things. However, I strongly suggest this book to everyone. It is important for everyone to know what they are putting into their body and how it affects the world they live in and their health. The book shows why America needs to end its addiction to fast-food and inhumane systems of food production. As a writer, I learned not to make the reader feel discouraged by playing on their guilt. Instead of attacking the reader, Robbins connects the reader to the sources of our food and how it affects the way we live. This is exactly how any non-fiction writer should write; to help develop understanding rather than trying to make the reader feel guilty. READ THIS BOOK!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    What a wonderful book! I have been a vegetarian for over 9 years and this book just convinced me to be a vegetarian until the day I die. I read "The China Study" a few years ago and was amazed to see all the benefits of having an animal-free diet. For one, there is a drastic reduction in cancer rates among vegetarians, they have lower cholesterol, healthier hearts, bodies, and live longer and healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts. This book, unlike The China Study, delves further in What a wonderful book! I have been a vegetarian for over 9 years and this book just convinced me to be a vegetarian until the day I die. I read "The China Study" a few years ago and was amazed to see all the benefits of having an animal-free diet. For one, there is a drastic reduction in cancer rates among vegetarians, they have lower cholesterol, healthier hearts, bodies, and live longer and healthier lives than their meat-eating counterparts. This book, unlike The China Study, delves further into the topics of slaughterhouses, the conditions animals have to endure for our benefit and the negative impacts that animals have on the environment. It's hard to believe this book was written over 20 years ago and that medical researchers have known about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle for that long, and still the public does not know about any of it. In fact, the public keep hearing how good animals are for us such as, "milk does a body good" "every meal must have meat to be complete". This book sure was a wake-up call. I wish every American would read this, and preferably sooner rather than later, so don't wait, please get a copy today! It was a real eye-opener and a book I will definitely read more than once.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monicaaa

    The thing about Diet for a New America is not that it isn't important in the vegan movement, but that it's not necessary to read as of right now. First published a couple of decades ago, it was a game changer. People were confronted with their impact for the first time. The idea that propaganda could be so neatly tied into the milk, egg and dairy industry was so new that it shocked so much of the US population. To not aknowledge this book's impact is not what this review is saying. Of course thi The thing about Diet for a New America is not that it isn't important in the vegan movement, but that it's not necessary to read as of right now. First published a couple of decades ago, it was a game changer. People were confronted with their impact for the first time. The idea that propaganda could be so neatly tied into the milk, egg and dairy industry was so new that it shocked so much of the US population. To not aknowledge this book's impact is not what this review is saying. Of course this book is and continues to be important. BUT if you're already vegan, you don't need to read it. It's a review of what you already know. It's also outdated. The writing can get dry at times. I'm sure that if you're new to this, this will entrall you. It may also bore you. I'd recommend a more recent book by John Robbins to you called The Food Revolution, which covers health, animals, and the environment in a more readable way. How Not to Die by Michael Greger also details health, but in a more consise way. You could also watch the trilogy: Food Inc, Cowspiracy, Earthlings. Unless you want to gain a deeper understanding on how the movement gained momentum and how this book may have impacted people, I would pass this book on and find more updated books on veganism

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Meyer

    Why did this book change my life forever??? First of all my uncle died of a heart attack at 37 years old. My mother passed away from cancer at 44. A teacher of mine died of a heart attack at 38. Since reading this book I have been close to 99% - 100% plant-based for the last 13 years. I am able to do over 125 pushups in a 6 minute military style pushup test at 37 and have never felt stronger or more energetic in my entire life. I eat superfoods like broccoli (one pound 1/2 per day), oatmeal, blube Why did this book change my life forever??? First of all my uncle died of a heart attack at 37 years old. My mother passed away from cancer at 44. A teacher of mine died of a heart attack at 38. Since reading this book I have been close to 99% - 100% plant-based for the last 13 years. I am able to do over 125 pushups in a 6 minute military style pushup test at 37 and have never felt stronger or more energetic in my entire life. I eat superfoods like broccoli (one pound 1/2 per day), oatmeal, bluberries, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, red lentils, etc and I love it. It saves me a TON of money and I feel incredible!!! The thing that opened my eyes the most is when he talks about all the toxic chemicals found in animal products. That really woke me up and made me think that if I want to avoid 95% of these toxic chemicals then I needed to eat a plant-based diet. I made the changes and have never looked back. I want to be a good role model for my friends, family, and myself. I want to be stronger at 105 than I was at 18 years old! Read this book and then go learn about TM meditation and change the WORLD!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aleks

    When I first started reading this book, I felt it was overly sentimental. I'm not one to be moved into great emotion or change by stories of smart animals or their friendliness or human-ness. However, in the end, this book turned me vegan overnight. Though the book opens with the sentimental, it moves onto information on how food affects the body, the environment, and the social impacts it makes to the world at large. The latter two were what affected me most. While I've had lapses into lacto-ovo When I first started reading this book, I felt it was overly sentimental. I'm not one to be moved into great emotion or change by stories of smart animals or their friendliness or human-ness. However, in the end, this book turned me vegan overnight. Though the book opens with the sentimental, it moves onto information on how food affects the body, the environment, and the social impacts it makes to the world at large. The latter two were what affected me most. While I've had lapses into lacto-ovo vegetarianism at times, the information I learned in this book (as well as just the way I *feel* as a vegan) keeps me bringing me back to veganism. Don't be mislead, the book isn't necessarily a call to veganism, it's not necessarily a book meant to turn the world off animal products. However, the information provided may bring persons to the conclusion that it's a lifestyle course they should consider.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Diet for a New America is to Kathleen, as My First Summer in the Sierra is to Sylvia Seymour (by John Muir, see review). Though I did not drop to the floor in tears, I did begin a no-looking-back, 20 years and counting, life of ethical vegetarianism. This book completely changed my thinking about the world, and my place in it. This honest, intelligent, and gentle appeal to consider how food gets to the table is transforming at a cellular level. Without anthropomorphizing, Robbins explains the tr Diet for a New America is to Kathleen, as My First Summer in the Sierra is to Sylvia Seymour (by John Muir, see review). Though I did not drop to the floor in tears, I did begin a no-looking-back, 20 years and counting, life of ethical vegetarianism. This book completely changed my thinking about the world, and my place in it. This honest, intelligent, and gentle appeal to consider how food gets to the table is transforming at a cellular level. Without anthropomorphizing, Robbins explains the true nature and sentience of the animals we call food. This book also conveys information about how eating a vegetarian diet can make an immeasurable impact on saving our environment. Diet for a New America stands as a must-read for each person who enjoys the distinction of "environmentalist".

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lani Muelrath

    The honorable John Robbins - it seems 9 out of 10 people I meet who follow a vegan and plant-based diet credit John Robbins and this book with their initial inspiration. EVERY bookshelf should have a copy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Read this many years ago. Remember disliking it intensely. So I've erased most of the content. It is a very preachy kind of book that doesn't simply present fact but tells you what to think about them and how to behave based on them.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    John Robbins' writing style is not my favorite, but I always read his books and sort of scan the parts where he gets to wordy and mushy. The information is good, and worth having.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mila

    For those who are ready for a paradigm shift. Not for those who can go through life with blinders on. Reaffirms my choice to be a vegan.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Olya Korzh

    If you only choose to read one book in your entire life, choose this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Littrell

    A classic of environment-friendly literature This is a radical polemic with a clear intention: to increase the number of vegans in the world. In a way it is a throwback--with similar effect--to Upton Sinclair's famous novel, The Jungle, about the filth in the Chicago stockyards, except that it is non-fiction (mostly, anyway). John Robbins wants to rub our nose in the filth, neglect and cruelty characteristic of the meat and poultry industries. He wants an end to the mass production and consumptio A classic of environment-friendly literature This is a radical polemic with a clear intention: to increase the number of vegans in the world. In a way it is a throwback--with similar effect--to Upton Sinclair's famous novel, The Jungle, about the filth in the Chicago stockyards, except that it is non-fiction (mostly, anyway). John Robbins wants to rub our nose in the filth, neglect and cruelty characteristic of the meat and poultry industries. He wants an end to the mass production and consumption of animal foods. He begins with some amazing and heart-warming stories about the courage and selflessness of animals and how much they do for us. Then he turns his focus to the way we treat the animals we use for food. It is difficult to read this part of the book, and indeed I confess that I skipped ahead. I already know about those appalling conditions having seen them on TV. Next he argues that we need less protein than the "protein empire" wants us to believe. He goes on to show how we can get all the protein our bodies require through a vegan diet. Then he argues that many cancers can be prevented with a proper diet that excludes animal products while implicating the products of the meat and poultry industries in the development of many diseases, especially the chronic diseases epidemic in the Western world. He concludes with a general manifesto in favor of an agrarian kind of heaven on earth. I am sorry to report, as other reviews have, that there are many errors and misconceptions in the book. In a minor error on page 176, for example, Robbins writes that "wheat...is 17% protein." Actually (as the USDA chart on the next page shows) 17% of the calories from wheat are in the form of protein, which is decidedly not the same thing. That chart also shows that 49% of the calories from spinach come from protein, but this does not mean that if you ate a pound of spinach you would eat almost half a pound of protein. Spinach is not 49% protein. It has water and fiber, etc. and it doesn't have a lot of calories. More important than the outright errors are the misrepresentations in the way Robbins sometimes presents his facts. For example on pages 266-267 he writes that instances of cervical cancer are "highest among women who consume diets high in fat, particularly animal fat." He adds that "cervical cancer in women in developing countries who began intercourse before age seventeen is two to three times higher than for those who began later." What he doesn't say (and probably didn't know) is that cervical cancer is caused by a papillomavirus and as such is a sexually transmitted disease. He also writes about the deforestation of America. The rate he gives from 1967 to 1986 when he wrote the first edition of this book is "one acre every five seconds." (p. 361) Actually, the amount of forested lands in the United States has increased by quite a bit since 1967 and some of that increase was during the years in question. I mention these shortcomings because I want to be fair, even though I realize that Robbins is more intent on serving his cause than being fair. I can put that aside because I believe that Robbins has done a fine public service in writing this book because it is a much-needed counterpoint to the billions of dollars worth of pro-meat and poultry industry propaganda and advertising that is constantly intruding upon our lives. Bottom line: for all its faults this is a classic of environmentalist literature and an extraordinary book that changed the lives of untold thousands of people by persuading them to adopt a more environment-friendly diet. However I wish that there was an updated edition (instead of just a reprint of the edition of 1987) that corrects some of the errors and takes cognizance of what has happened since then. --Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Korina Mills

    If I could get every person on the planet to read just one book, it would be this one. And if our planet and species collapses due to our wasteful and destructive habits, let this book be a proof and a reminder that there was a small minority of humans who sought the truth and aimed to convey it to the rest of the world. To fully understand the (figurative) weight of the contents of this book, it is important to have a little background information on the author. John Robbins, the author of the If I could get every person on the planet to read just one book, it would be this one. And if our planet and species collapses due to our wasteful and destructive habits, let this book be a proof and a reminder that there was a small minority of humans who sought the truth and aimed to convey it to the rest of the world. To fully understand the (figurative) weight of the contents of this book, it is important to have a little background information on the author. John Robbins, the author of the book, gave up his role as future owner and operator of his family’s company-- Baskin-Robbins. Why? Because he witnessed the reality of the American food industry and refused to take part in it. It takes a special kind of character to sacrifice that amount of wealth and power in favor of their ethics and virtues. Robbins writes with such passion and beautifully articulated prose that I often found the very deepest parts of myself reflected in his words. Almost every single one of the multitude of reasons for which I became vegan is conveyed superbly in this book. In fact, the final chapter title is a reflection of one of my most fundamental beliefs and experiences: that everything is connected. I really wish that a newer, updated edition of this book would be released. It is so, so powerful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joomi Lee

    I'm reading an amazon kindle sample of the 25th anniversary edition of the John Robbins book "Diet for a New America". I was surprised he failed to quote Hebrew Old Testament scriptures that state both animals and humans are souls and have spirit. He mentioned that sharks are attracted to fox trot music but flee from rock music but fails to mention that plants grow best when listening to Mozart and grow worst when surrounded by heavy metal. I am really glad he explained that philosopher Descartes I'm reading an amazon kindle sample of the 25th anniversary edition of the John Robbins book "Diet for a New America". I was surprised he failed to quote Hebrew Old Testament scriptures that state both animals and humans are souls and have spirit. He mentioned that sharks are attracted to fox trot music but flee from rock music but fails to mention that plants grow best when listening to Mozart and grow worst when surrounded by heavy metal. I am really glad he explained that philosopher Descartes hated animals and didn't think they were souls. I will not be buying any of his books. The Bible says all kinds of animals have been tamed by man. Is this a good thing? If a baby beaver grows up among humans it will become friendlier to humans than baby beavers that were raised in the wild and will do abnormal things like climb into a boat with a fisherman inside. Birds that are fed bread crumbs and other human food are known to develop Diabetes type 2 as well as suffer from strokes and heart attacks. In Washington state it is against the law for humans to feed birds inside parks. Some birds lose their fear of man and agressively attack humans for human food. I have seen that at least once here in Fontana, California. The Bible says that God feeds the birds. Please leave well enough alone. Unfortunately, I learned this late in life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Lim

    John Robbins writes a well-researched book on the down side of eating meat. Robbins covers the health effects, that these animals are fed hormones that are not natural and the inhumane conditions the animals go through. The reader will open up their minds to uncovering all the behind-the-scenes of the meat industry in U.S. The reader may have seen this story in news magazines if you watch 60 minutes or any other show. If you read articles on regular basis from magazines and newspapers, you are f John Robbins writes a well-researched book on the down side of eating meat. Robbins covers the health effects, that these animals are fed hormones that are not natural and the inhumane conditions the animals go through. The reader will open up their minds to uncovering all the behind-the-scenes of the meat industry in U.S. The reader may have seen this story in news magazines if you watch 60 minutes or any other show. If you read articles on regular basis from magazines and newspapers, you are familiar with the subject. Robbins groups them all together in one sitting. You'll think twice before eating certain foods for several weeks. Life goes on.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave Walls

    I have to say this is one of the most important books I have read. It inspired me to become a vegetarian, and ultimately I became vegan. after I gave up meat, I lost 28 pounds, without any effort, over four months. I still refer to this book, 25 years later, for information about how much various crops yield per acre, which has become more and more important as we struggle to achieve sustainability, and feed the whole world. If I was on a deserted island with only five books, this would be one.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Runder

    I read this is in college and have to say because of this book, I have yet to eat veal. I gave up all red meat as well as chicken because of the impact this book had on me. Unfortunately, I do eat meat again but still have no interest in veal and rarely eat red meat. Recommend this to all Americans.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kellee Warren

    This is a classic! Seeing the cover of the book makes me want to read it again. I was in my late teens, early-twenties when I read this book, and it completely freaked me out! John Robbins, the heir to the Baskin-Robbins business, decided to opt out because of how the U.S. processes meat, dairy, and other food stuffs. I highly recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carla Villar

    I bought this book in the mid-nineties when I was in college. I should have read it then. The best I can say is that I kept it all these years, and I finally read it. Now that I have read it, I know that I have a lot of work to do. The science shows us the path to save the planet and everyone on it. May we follow the science in time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chantee

    Well written, keeps your interest, and very educational about the foods you eat and how they benefit or harm you and the planet. After reading what the animals go through, how certain foods affect your health/weight, can't imagine ever eating meat pork or poultry again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judith Paterson

    Didn't read all the way to the end. Mixed response. Felt I had to read for Book Club, but was written in 80s and I believe science has changed some of his findings. However lots of jaw dropping detail of how we are manipulated by meat industry

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