Download The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food Audiobook

The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food Audiobook, by Ted Genoways Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ted Genoways Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Tantor Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2014 ISBN: 9781494577087
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book)
Regular Price: $17.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$7.95$7.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

On the production line in American packinghouses, there is one cardinal rule: the chain never slows. Under pressure to increase supply, the supervisors of meat-processing plants have routinely accelerated the pace of conveyors, leading to inhumane conditions, increased accidents, and food of questionable and often dangerous quality. In The Chain, acclaimed journalist Ted Genoways uses the story of Hormel Foods and its most famous product, Spam, to probe the state of the meatpacking industry. Interviewing scores of line workers, union leaders, hog farmers, and local politicians and activists, Genoways reveals an industry pushed to its breaking point. Along the way, he exposes alarming new trends: sick or permanently disabled workers, abused animals, water and soil pollution, and mounting conflict between small towns and immigrant labor. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “The strongest and most memorable sections of the book explore how poor immigrant workers are treated only somewhat better than the hogs at a Hormel slaughterhouse…Genoways depicts the lives of these workers with great skill and compassion…Well worth reading, full of compelling stories, genuine outrage, and the careful exposure of corporate lies.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A worthy update to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and a chilling indicator of how little has changed since that 1906 muckraking classic.”

    Mother Jones

  • “A searing indictment…[Genoways] writes with passion and a sense of mission…He should get people thinking about the trade-offs that the public makes in return for low-cost meat.”

    Associated Press

  • “A disturbing exposé…Genoways makes a compelling case that the meatpacking industry’s relentless drive for higher output poses a threat to food safety.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Michael Kramer’s persuasive and unfaltering performance reinforces the disturbing information in this portrait of the American food industry. Kramer’s articulate narration tempers the author’s tone, offering mild intonations and a steadiness that balance the stark, and sometimes shocking, information…Kramer’s good timing and clarity of voice clearly convey the shocking statistics and poignant message about the true price of cheap meat. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Provides readers with an exhaustive examination of this industry, shedding light on how it has evolved and expanded to embrace change, demand, and innovation. Accessibly written…a valuable and stimulating read.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Genoways’ blistering account of the meatpacking industry makes the case for tighter monitoring of this powerful sector of American agribusiness.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A scathing report on the consequences of factory farming…Genoways…tells a sad, horrifying story, a severe indictment of both corporate greed and consumer complacency.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “An unflinching, intimate portrait of America’s industrialized meat system…A must-read for anyone concerned with our nation’s food system and the phenomenal cost—animal, human, and environmental—of cheap meat.”

    Tracie McMillan, Hillman Prize–winning author of The American Way of Eating

  • “An insightful chronicle of a changing American heartland and of lives trampled in the headlong rush to industrialize the food system. Upton Sinclair would surely approve.”

    Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Toms River

  • “Formidably researched and vividly told, The Chain…intercuts intimate portraits of towns and factories with longer views of labor, business, and immigration history, making painfully clear the true cost of the ‘other white meat.’”

    Ted Conover, author of Newjack, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

  • An exhaustive examination of this industry. . . . [Listeners] curious about meatpacking and agriculture as well as the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the food industry will find Genoways's nonfiction debut a valuable and stimulating read. Library Journal Starred Review
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!
Write a Review

About the Author

Ted Genoways is an award-winning poet, journalist, and editor. He is the author of two books of poems and books of nonfiction. He is also a contributing editor at Mother Jones and editor-at-large at OnEarth. His essays and poetry have appeared in the Atlantic, Bloomberg Businessweek, Harper’s, the New Republic, Outside, and the Washington Post Book World. He has wona National Press Club Award and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism and has received fellowships from the National Education Assocation and the Guggenheim Foundation. He edited the Virginia Quarterly Review from 2003 to 2012, during which time the magazine won six National Magazine Awards.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, and recipient of a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award. He is also an actor and director in the Washington, DC, area, where he is active in the area’s theater scene and has appeared in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Theater J.