15th out of 16 books — 8 voters
Lords Of The Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, And The Future Of Food
Biotech companies are creating designer crops with strange powers-from cholesterol-reducing soybeans to tobacco plants that act as solar-powered pharmaceutical factories. They promise great benefits: better health for consumers and more productive agriculture. But the vision has a dark side. In Lords of the Harvest, Daniel Charles tells the real story behind "Frankenstein...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 18th 2002 by Basic Books
(first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 198)
This book focuses on Monsanto's strategy in the biotech business centered around its investments in its roundup related products. It presents a balanced view of the industry, in that it does not discuss the science behind biotech products but attempts to examine the pros and cons based on the science. It is a fascinating look at how Monsanto tried to craft a significant corporate strategy in the agricultural sector - to become the Microsoft of biotech. The position of the book is that Microsoft...more
I liked the narrative approach to this book. It made a very complex topic accessible and enjoyable. I like learning about food production and agriculture, and this book provides a good overview on the history and motivations for the biotech vs. organic debate.
Charles does an excellent job of presenting the story behind the biotechnology industry without revealing any particular bias until the epilogue where he addresses the questions we are trying to ask throughout the book. After reading First Fruit, I enjoyed Lords of the Harvest because it presents a broader picture of the industry as a whole as opposed to following one specific company (though it does have a strong emphasis on Monsanto). The science is well-written and fairly easy to grasp though...more
May 07, 2010 David rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: business and political students
Recommended to David by: Library
This one was not what I was looking for, but I was fascinated nevertheless. I was looking for something on agricultural policy, dealing particularly with tarrifs and trade. This one is about the politics and businees of bio-technology. What makes it so interesting is that the author is a good story teller. He is a science correspondent for MPR, and he tells the stories of his subject with the finest techinques of the storyteller's art. The subject itself is interesting from a sociological standp...more
I had decided on three stars for this book until I read the epilogue at the end. Not because it is a bad read, poor researching, dry, or outdated. I enjoyed the book. Mr. Charles does a fine job researching the topic and brings a degree of personality into the literature. I found myself asking, "just who's side are you on?" Upon reading the epilogue, I realized he is merely a storyteller and he regards himself as such. He presents the facts in a legible fashion and allows the reader to come to t...more
A short history of the beginning of the biotech industry, mostly revolving around Monsanto. It was difficult to keep all of the names straight (for me), but I'm glad the author really did his research and presented as much of the story as he could without ever seeming too judgmental or biased. A lot of the writing on this topic is one-sided, so it was nice to read something that questioned both the biotech industry and its opponents. My favorite part of the book was the epilogue, when the author...more
I read this to brush up on the history of GM foods for a segment I was producing. It's a great overview of all the major milestones and controversies you'll hear biotech experts refer to during interviews, and a good starting point to do some deep thinking about biotech and the future of genetically modified foods.
Resist the numbskulls... Bio-tech is a good thing, which the forces of "green" warriors inexplicably and ridiculously want to tank, mostly for their own aggrandizement somehow. And so on. Sheer garbage, though somewhat better than most at presenting the backdrop of the issue, and slicker than most at keeping the farce of "objectivity" going until it falls away deep into the book.
Jul 19, 2008 Vanessa rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people interested in the relationship between science and culture
Recommended to Vanessa by: Gina
Really interesting look at how the agricultural biotech industry came about and why it hasn't changed the world in the way people thought it might. A lot of the book focuses on Monsanto, as they were one of the primary companies involved in ag-tech, and it's a great inside view into the relationship between science and business. I think this is a great read for anyone interested in understanding how complex the issues around biotech and agriculture really are, and why we should care.