The Omnivore's Dilemma

  • by Michael Pollan
  • Narrated by Scott Brick
  • 15 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century."What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't, which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is best-selling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.We are indeed what we eat, and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as "What shall we have for dinner?"


What the Critics Say

National Book Critics Circle 2006 Award Finalist, Nonfiction
"Remarkably clearheaded book....A fascinating journey up and down the food chain." (Publishers Weekly)
"His supermeticulous reporting is the book's strength - you're not likely to get a better explanation of where your food comes from....In an uncommonly good year for American food writing, this is a book that stands out." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Completely charming." (Nora Ephron)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book; didn't love the reading

While raving to a friend about Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", she recommended this book, so it was my next purchase. Early on I began to wonder if ANYTHING was really healthy and ethical to eat, unless you can produce all your own food! But it turned out to have some fascinating and valuable information about the way our food is grown, processed and transported, so it was well worth reading.

As for the narration... I've listened to several other books narrated by Scott Brick, and he's never been a favorite, but this was just baaaaddd. This book did NOT require a dramatic reading, but that's what it got! And I wish someone would give narrators a list of uncommon words in advance so he or she can be prepared! Mr. Brick really butchered a few words, and based on sentence context, I think he may have mis-read a few words altogether! I kept telling myself it's not a big deal - I got the point - but it's just so distracting!
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- Lily

Somewhat preachy, almost always fascinating

Well-written, well-researched, and full of interesting facts and stories about our food supply, I had two issues that bugged me about this book that held me back from unreserved praise, though other listeners may feel differently. First, and probably less important, is that the narrator over EMOTES every OTHER word making DRAMATIC use of pauses and SUCH to the point of annoyance, though this only started to bother me after a few hours. Secondly, though the book feels evenhanded at first, as it goes on, there are more and more digressions against tampering with nature, and the evil people (grain companies, government policy people) who back the bad guy of the book -- corn. While it does not overwhelm the audiobook, it does start to grate a bit, especially as the author regularly misuses economic arguments, and ignores perspectives other than those of the wealthy westerner to whom the tenfold increase in food production per acre is a problem, not a benefit. That said, however, the issues are discussed in a really interesting manner, with well-told stories (following the history of an ear of corn, tracing the debate about organic food standards through the hippies who started it, working at a farm, hunting a boar), and based on what we learn about the industrialized food supply, the biases he brings to the table, as it were, are both understandable and relatively subdued. It may or may not transform the way you think about food, but it will certainly raise questions, while keeping you surprisingly entertained.
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- Ethan M. "On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-03-2006
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio