This book sat on my shelf for quite some time. I viewed it as an academic history of Chicago and the Midwest. Boy was I wrong. This book is a biographThis book sat on my shelf for quite some time. I viewed it as an academic history of Chicago and the Midwest. Boy was I wrong. This book is a biography of Chicago - the good side of the family and the bad. Along the way I learned how Chicago controlled the grain trade and bore the Chicago Board of Trade. I learned about the exploitation of Wisconsin lumber and the Cutover, where forest though inexhaustible were scraped away to Chicago. I learned enough about the meat-packing industry to make me want to pick up The Jungle again. And I learned a lot about how cities and countryside interact and depend on each other. This is a book I will reference for quite a while....more
When I saw this at the library I was pretty excited. Getting home I read about two-thirds and had to give up for a couple of reasons. The book fails tWhen I saw this at the library I was pretty excited. Getting home I read about two-thirds and had to give up for a couple of reasons. The book fails to really explain the food waste problem, instead it seems Bloom felt he had enough blog posts describing food waste that he could assemble them, poorly, into a book.
I feel a good book on food waste would have said, "We waste food for reasons A, B, C, etc, and we can solve this by doing X, Y, Z." Instead, American Wasteland says a little about A, a little about Z, then goes into 2, then C, then Z again. If I recall, he also makes an explicit point at the beginning to not count food lost in standard farm losses including transportation, and then makes a big point about food lost in the farming cycle and on trucks. Finally, I think he references a website for information whereas a thoughtful author would have not included the data unless he could speak with the author.
I'm glad there are guys like Bloom doing what he does in the blogosphere regarding food waste, as it is a huge problem and needs advocates. However, I think he should have left the collection of examples to a long article, and saved the book for later....more