Not recommended for readers looking to become more informed about this issue; suitable for those who already align with the...

READ REVIEW

THE LOCAVORE'S DILEMMA

IN PRAISE OF THE 10,000-MILE DIET

Desrochers (Geography/Univ. of Toronto) and Shimizu formulate counterarguments to claims made by proponents of locavorism.

The authors state that the movement does not nurture social capital because economic well-being is correlated to more trade and specialized jobs. It also does not offer a free economic lunch because the more people spend on one local good, the less money they have to spend on another local product. In response to claims about the environmental benefits of locavorism, they claim that food transportation has negligible environmental damage. They also believe that larger food corporations are better equipped to handle food safety than smaller, local operations. Moreover, the issue of food shortage has only been effectively addressed by food imported from other countries. While some of the authors’ points have merit, they ignore some widely known facts about food. For example, Desrochers and Shimizu note that we are bigger and live longer compared to our ancestors due to advancements in food. While that is true, the authors ignore the fact that the average American’s health has declined in the past decade, partly due to increases in food-related diseases such as diabetes. The authors also praise the variety of food available in U.S. supermarkets, assuming that variety exists everywhere, not just in middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. (For a solid discussion of the lack of variety in lower-class areas, see Maggie Anderson and Ted Gregory’s Our Black Year.) In the chapter about food safety, Desrochers and Shimizu list bacterial outbreaks that occurred in local fruit and vegetable farms but do not mention the recent problems in large meat and poultry companies. In 2011, there were three outbreaks and recalls that originated from Dole, Tyson Farms and Jennie-O factories. The authors’ willingness to ignore certain facts and events that do not align with their argument casts doubt on the book’s validity as a source of information.

Not recommended for readers looking to become more informed about this issue; suitable for those who already align with the authors’ viewpoint.

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58648-940-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller

EDISON

One of history’s most prolific inventors receives his due from one of the world’s greatest biographers.

Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Morris (This Living Hand and Other Essays, 2012, etc.), who died this year, agrees that Thomas Edison (1847-1931) almost certainly said, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” and few readers of this outstanding biography will doubt that he was the quintessential workaholic. Raised in a middle-class Michigan family, Edison displayed an obsessive entrepreneurial spirit from childhood. As an adolescent, he ran a thriving business selling food and newspapers on a local railroad. Learning Morse code, he spent the Civil War as a telegrapher, impressing colleagues with his speed and superiors with his ability to improve the equipment. In 1870, he opened his own shop to produce inventions to order. By 1876, he had money to build a large laboratory in New Jersey, possibly the world’s first industrial research facility. Never a loner, Edison hired talented people to assist him. The dazzling results included the first commercially successful light bulb for which, Morris reminds readers, he invented the entire system: dynamo, wires, transformers, connections, and switches. Critics proclaim that Edison’s innovations (motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, mimeograph, etc.) were merely improvements on others’ work, but this is mostly a matter of sour grapes. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was a clunky, short-range device until it added Edison’s carbon microphone. And his phonograph flabbergasted everyone. Humans had been making images long before Daguerre, but no one had ever reproduced sound. Morris rivetingly describes the personalities, business details, and practical uses of Edison’s inventions as well as the massive technical details of years of research and trial and error for both his triumphs and his failures. For no obvious reason, the author writes in reverse chronological order, beginning in 1920, with each of the seven following chapters backtracking a decade. It may not satisfy all readers, but it works.

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9311-0

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

more