Not for the fainthearted, but a good wake-up call for those concerned with decent treatment of animals and healthy food on...

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PROJECT ANIMAL FARM

AN ACCIDENTAL JOURNEY INTO THE SECRET WORLD OF FARMING AND THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR FOOD

A searing exposé of the brutal treatment animals receive on their ways to our dinner plates.

Following a whim, debut author Faruqi decided to take a break from the hectic pace of Wall Street and volunteer for two weeks on an organic dairy farm a few hours outside Toronto. That decision proved to be both eye-opening and life-changing. Her lifelong plan to establish a career as an investment banker was put on hold due to the 2008 recession, and her goal shifted from earning lots of money to exposing injustice. Despite the fact that the farm was certified as organic, her introduction to the on-the-ground reality was far from the charming pastoral scene she had imagined. Faruqi was horrified by the cramped quarters in the shed where 65 cows lived, “shackled to stalls by neck chains” and forced to stand in their own excrement. With her interest whetted, she visited commercial farming operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Asia. Investigating “organic” poultry farms, egg warehouses, and cattle, pig, and sheep farms, she found widespread force-feeding, unsanitary conditions, and confined living space. She began to realize that the bottom line was maximizing profit without regard to animal welfare, product purity, or even rudimentary sanitation. Since organic products command a higher price—in 2013, sales reached $35 billion in the United States—and the regulatory system is lax, organic has become a desirable alternative to traditional farming. Even small, family-run operations often use the methods of factory farming, which set the standards and control the supply chain—e.g., by calibrating weight gain to profitability. Faruqi contrasts this with a visit to a successful pastoral farm to demonstrate a humane alternative at only slightly higher consumer prices. The author's expertise in finance provides an extra dimension to this well-documented report.

Not for the fainthearted, but a good wake-up call for those concerned with decent treatment of animals and healthy food on the table.

Pub Date: July 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60598-798-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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