Pondering his stance on hunting and eating meat, a committed vegan delivers an entertaining and erudite meditation on his place in the natural world.
Though Cerulli’s boyhood included fishing and exploring the outdoors, during high school he became a vegetarian; at 20 he was a staunch vegan. During his 30s, with his health deteriorating from lack of protein, he was forced to alter his diet. He began fishing again, but his attempts did little to stock his larder. So Cerulli contemplated what had once seemed unimaginable: “What about hunting? The thought came quietly, furtively, like an unwelcome stranger.” Along with his study of historical, philosophical, religious, conservation and environmental texts, the author’s excursions provide the focus for the narrative. He examines the politics of food and the contentious debates that have ambushed America’s conversation about the food supply. He also skillfully delves into the importance of habitat health for wildlife, the Lacey Act of 1900 and Theodore Roosevelt’s role in the conservation movement. Cerulli ventured back into the woods, rekindling personal relationships along the way. While he traces the evolution of hunting as a sport for elites to a pursuit for the common man, he examines his own mindset slowly changing from “militant vegan” to deer hunter. Cerulli assumes the role of the reasonable yet probing narrator, raising questions and pointing out the contradictions and truths contained within the multiple viewpoints he discusses. The refreshingly evenhanded tone allows readers to judge the author’s argument on the merits of his literary and personal evidence.
Today’s noisy media environment often consists of rigid, uninformed viewpoints passed off as the sole truth. Cerulli provides a welcome antidote to the bluster.