Whether or not readers agree with Lusk’s views on agriculture and the politics of food production, he will make you think...

THE FOOD POLICE

A WELL-FED MANIFESTO ABOUT THE POLITICS OF YOUR PLATE

Lusk (Agricultural Economics/Oklahoma State Univ.) argues against the zeitgeist of buying organic and local and avoiding processed foods.

The author positions “farmers who want to work, and consumers who want to eat, as they please” against “self-proclaimed saviors of the food system, who want to make decisions for us.” Who are these food elites? Chief among them, writes Lusk, are Michael Pollan and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman, who advocates for organic, locally grown food. In general, the “food police” are a shadowy group who want more government control over our food decisions. The author argues that so-called “fat taxes” are designed to bring in revenues to grow the size of government, and pesticides and genetically modified foods are not as harmful to our health or the environment as the food police would have us believe. Lusk, who has published papers on food economics and consulted with agribusinesses and the government, makes his most salient points on the economic consequences of growing organically, buying locally and increasing food regulations. While he agrees that “using fewer pesticides, eating more veggies, or supporting a local farmer can all be good things in their own right,” he cites “tough trade-offs”—e.g., foods are more expensive and less accessible to a large portion of the population. Buying local limits diversity in our diets while modern transportation methods bring a wide range of fruits and vegetables from other areas to market at a low cost, and the high yields of large-scale farming benefit a hungry world.

Whether or not readers agree with Lusk’s views on agriculture and the politics of food production, he will make you think about your food choices.

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-98703-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown Forum

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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