"Epic and engrossing." —The New York Times Book Review From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and pioneering journalist, an expansive look at how history has been shaped by humanity’s appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all—and how a better future is within reach. The story of humankind is usually told as one of technological innovation and economic influence—of arrowheads and atomic bombs, settlers and stock markets. But behind it all, there is an even more fundamental driver: Food. In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, trusted food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments, from slavery and colonialism to famine and genocide—and to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people. Even still, Bittman refuses to concede that the battle is lost, pointing to activists, workers, and governments around the world who are choosing well-being over corporate greed and gluttony, and fighting to free society from Big Food’s grip. Sweeping, impassioned, and ultimately full of hope, Animal, Vegetable, Junk reveals not only how food has shaped our past, but also how we can transform it to reclaim our future.
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“The climate crisis, COVID-19, and the recent reckoning with systemic and institutional racism have all revealed the many cracks in our global food system. In this thorough and revealing book, Mark Bittman discusses how we got to this point when reform is so essential.”
Al Gore, former US vice president
“Bittman brings his trademark wit, precision, and user-friendliness to a sweeping history of sustenance. The result is a joyful and transformational read.”
— Naomi Klein, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Food is crucial for our survival, our health, our welfare, our land, our laws, our energy supplies, our water, and almost everything else. Mark Bittman…will open your eyes to the crisis facing our food system and to the world impact of every bite that you eat.”
— Jared Diamond, New York Times bestselling author
“Epic and engrossing…a clear and compelling compendium of modern agriculture….[Bittman] has earned the right to damn the evident flaws of our system.”
— New York Times Book Review
“An expert’s vigorous argument for systemic food reform.”
— Kirkus Reviews
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About Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman is one of the country’s best-known and most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. He writes for the opinion section of New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. His “The Minimalist” cooking show, based on his popular New York Times column, can be seen on the Cooking Channel.