Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beef” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  84 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The cow. The most industrious animal in the world. A beast central to human existence since time began, it has played a vital role in our history not only as a source of food, but also as a means of labor, an economic resource, an inspiration for art, and even as a religious icon. Prehistoric people painted it on cave walls; explorers, merchants, and landowners traded it a ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beef, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Beef

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 218)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Evan Fraser
Mar 16, 2010 Evan Fraser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess, I'm slow to learn about GoodReads and have just created an account. As the author of this book, I'd be thrilled to engage in the ideas and respond to criticism. If anyone is interested, feel free to join my facebook group (Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas: Also, Andrew (the co-author) and I have a new book coming out this summer called Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Empires of Food: Why Civilization Rev
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Imagine our world without cattle, and you're not imagining our world." Great start to a book about beef!

Throughout the ages the cow has been an incredible bargain for the bit of grass it consumes, "They pulled loads, they made milk, and when they could do no more, they gave up their bones to the stew pot."

This book is a great history of beef and the cow/bull it came from. Andrew Rimas and Evan D.G.Fraser take you on an historical trip including Spain and their love of the bullfights, the Masai
Kitten Kisser
Sep 10, 2014 Kitten Kisser rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking
I'm rather obsessed with the food industry. What it was, is, & should be. Usually I find these types of nonfiction books fascinating. Not so with this book. A boring read that I couldn't wait to get over with!
This book reminds me of the dull history books in High School, informative, useful, & mind numbing. Don't purchase this for an entertaining read, get it for educational purposes, say if you or you're child is doing a book report of the history of beef! Especially if they want to do
Aug 28, 2010 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, abandoned
Great history, great facts, but no continuity. It reads like a blog archive, not like a book.
Mar 01, 2009 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who eats beef
Meh. That's the best I can come up with. Though, to be fair, I don't exactly know what I was expecting. I typically do not like novels written by journalists, and this was no exception. While well written, much of the anecdotes and armchair anthropology seemed to be largely filler. The whole thing could have been a nice National Geographic piece. And even given the 200+ pages, I feel like the reader only gets hints at very intriguing topics each worthy of its own book. Like being allowed to smel ...more
Jun 19, 2009 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural_history
I'm a total sucker for how-(fill in any element from the periodic table, groundbreaking invention, animal)-changed-the-world-as-we-know-it books. This wasn't one of the better ones, but I liked some things about it.

One of the authors (I'm not sure which), could be quite lyrical in describing cattle and the people who work with them -- quite amusing, sometimes. But the book seemed to jump all over the place, not really alighting and delving into any on aspect of cattle. It almost looks like someo
Oct 28, 2013 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Disappointment is really all I have to say. I thought it was going to be more than it was. The first 100 pages are hard to get through as it was the early years of cows history. I think it spent too much time on that. It was the last 100 pages that were more interesting to me as it was closer to this century. I thought it would have gone more into what is happening today with shifts of organic and more sustainable practices are being looked at or the problems with these feed pen practices.

The b
Assaf Lavie
Jan 28, 2016 Assaf Lavie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very educational, regardless of how you feel about eating meat.
Jan 25, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take a rambling long ride from the times of our stone-age ancestors who domesticated wild cattle, to the modern Masai tribesmen who struggle to keep their stone-age culture alive. Along the way you can run with the bulls in Spain, make cheese with medieval monks, and import cattle into the New World with conquistadors. Be sure to rest a spell and try a new recipe or two, from the basic Rib Eye Steak to Homeric Roast Beef, Cheddar, Steak Tartar, and of course: Beef Jerky.
Claudia Yahany
Mar 24, 2014 Claudia Yahany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Demasiada poesía y romance.
Aug 19, 2011 Petar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cow is truly an interesting and at times quite fascinating animal. The rise of beef consumption has had a direct impact on our planet and it is interesting to read just how much the humble bovine has shaped our fair planet. Unfortunately, I found the culinary interludes slightly irritating. I think I understand what the author was trying to do with these interludes, but for me, it broke up the flow of the book and made me gag slightly.
Jun 16, 2009 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking-food
The book is a bit rambling. Has several good sections on the history of beef domestication, but never really pulled together. The chapter on the bull industry supporting the Spanish bull fights was interesting. My standard for this sort of book is still, Pig Perfect : Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them.
May 05, 2011 Sesana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction, food
The truth of the matter is that I skimmed the last half of the book. This isn't really anything to do with the book. I just realized after about a hundred pages that I didn't really care that much about beef to read a hundred more. The book seemed fairly well-written, it just didn't have the spark that would keep me reading further.
Noel M.
There's a couple of chuckles to be had in here. It's a light, afternoon read but not much beyond that.
Apr 01, 2010 Cissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and readable account of the domestication of cattle through the ages. I really enjoyed it.
Oct 11, 2012 Scotty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 is more like it. Entertaining overview, but topic could use more depth.
Jan 31, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting. Rimas and Fraser walk through history with the cow!
Michael S.
Mar 11, 2009 Michael S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cooks, Foodies, Historians
Recommended to Michael S. by: Borders Bookstore Find
Among (lots of) other things, I learned how to make cheddar cheese.
Jane rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2016
Megan rated it liked it
Jan 09, 2016
Shaynah Kowitz
Shaynah Kowitz marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2016
Alma marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2015
Brenda rated it did not like it
Jan 07, 2016
Dave Varghese
Dave Varghese marked it as to-read
Dec 13, 2015
James Shimp
James Shimp marked it as to-read
Dec 03, 2015
Judith rated it it was amazing
Nov 28, 2015
Greg DeVos
Greg DeVos marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2015
Ashleigh marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2015
Shreekant Joshi
Shreekant Joshi marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America
  • Food: The History of Taste
  • Russian Folk Belief
  • The Oxford Companion to Food
  • The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore
  • Tigers In Red Weather: A Quest for the Last Wild Tigers
  • Secrets of the Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries of Elephants and People
  • Fresh: A Perishable History
  • Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore
  • Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History
  • The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960
  • Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages
  • Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee—The Dark History of the Food Cheats
  • When You Lunch with the Emperor: The Adventures of Ludwig Bemelmans
  • The Medici Giraffe and Other Tales of Exotic Animals and Power
  • Why Some Like It Hot: Food, Genes, and Cultural Diversity
  • Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood
  • The Wolf in the Parlor: The Eternal Connection between Humans and Dogs

Share This Book