• Lesser Beasts

  • A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig
  • By: Mark Essig
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 05-05-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (604 ratings)

Regular price: $19.95

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Publisher's Summary

Unlike other barnyard animals, which pull plows, give eggs or milk, or grow wool, a pig produces only one thing: meat. Incredibly efficient at converting almost any organic matter into nourishing, delectable protein, swine are nothing short of a gastronomic godsend - yet their flesh is banned in many cultures, and the animals themselves are maligned as filthy, lazy brutes.
As historian Mark Essig reveals in Lesser Beasts, swine have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. What's more, he argues, we ignore our historic partnership with these astonishing animals at our peril. Tracing the interplay of pig biology and human culture from Neolithic villages 10,000 years ago to modern industrial farms, Essig blends culinary and natural history to demonstrate the vast importance of the pig and the tragedy of its modern treatment at the hands of humans. Pork, Essig explains, has long been a staple of the human diet, prized in societies from Ancient Rome to dynastic China to the contemporary American South. Yet pigs' ability to track down and eat a wide range of substances (some of them distinctly unpalatable to humans) and convert them into edible meat has also led people throughout history to demonize the entire species as craven and unclean. Today's unconscionable system of factory farming, Essig explains, is only the latest instance of humans taking pigs for granted, and the most recent evidence of how both pigs and people suffer when our symbiotic relationship falls out of balance.
An expansive, illuminating history of one of our most vital yet unsung food animals, Lesser Beasts turns a spotlight on the humble creature that, perhaps more than any other, has been a mainstay of civilization since its very beginnings - whether we like it or not.
©2015 Mark Essig (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ashley on 08-06-15

I learned so much.

It is well researched, well written, and well performed. 5 Stars all around - and will highly recommend to everyone I know.

I love pigs, as they're interesting and intelligent animals. This book taught me things that I hadn't already picked up from the internet. It gets... difficult to hear at times, as some things in life aren't all butterflies and unicorns, but still well worth the knowledge.

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18 of 20 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Pavel Jilinski on 06-03-15

Story of the pigs and humans

Great book for those interested in history and animals. Definitely on my way to become vegetarian after.

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20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By AReader on 03-18-16

Fascinating

Packed full of interesting information. Read by Joe Barrett. What's not to like? Only the fact that after hearing this you will never eat supermarket meat again.

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