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Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture
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Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Americans have a love affair with beef. The average American consumes the meat of seven 1,100-pound steers in a lifetime. But how many hamburger-lovers realize that a single boneless beefsteak requires up to 1,200 gallons of precious water to produce, that livestock now consume nearly one third of the world's grain, or that cattle play a central role in species extinction?
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by Plume (first published 1992)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  263 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Joseph Mirabal
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Beyond Beef Jeremy Rifikin offers a scathing review on the multinational beef industry and cattle eating culture in the western world. This book however is not just some baseless rant; Rifkin uses logical arguments, sound facts and various supporting sources. He actually made an extremely sound argument that really swayed me (shockingly considering I am quite fond of cow). His use of evidence was so well done and strong it transformed a heavily biased topic into a logical sound book.

Rifkin St
Libro di impostazione radicale e catastrofica, fin troppo documentato. Saltabili le prime 170 pag, di storia del bovino. Si fa interessante parlando dei giorni nostri.
Emerge con forza come addentando una gustosissima fiorentina da 8 etti è come se ci stessimo mangiando 30 Kg di cereali, avessimo contribuito a rendere deserta una superficie di circa 100 mq, avessimo inquinato i fiumi e le acque di una certa massa di sterco (non ho i dati sottomano...) e altre amenità del genere. Oltre, naturalme
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this in the library at Lubbock Christian University my junior year while doing research for a speech to persuade people to eat more vegetables & less meat. I think I looked thru more of this book than I planned because it was more intriguing than I expected. Within a few weeks to months after reading this back in 2001, I became an ovo-lacto-vegetarian.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book 20 some-odd years ago changed my life.
A must read . One of the first books available that exposed
Factory Farming and its consequences. Brought attention to
the way we raise livestock before it was 'cool' .
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
The history of cattle in relationship to which the word itself (etymologically preceding "capital"). Lots of juicy, eye-opening history, which is brutal. Very interesting read...we'll see if I can get through it without becoming vegetarian. doubtful.
Simone S
I was already vegetarian when I read this book, so it simply gave me some good arguments to reply to the usual stupid questions that I get when I tell people that I'm vegetarian. Actually, today I'm vegan, so the questions I get are even more stupid.
Moises Mehl
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of insights about the history of the Meat industry.
Eunbi Wood
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The writer finished the book saying eating beyond beef is a revolutionary act; it brought me a whole different phase of looking at cattle business in the US in a quite revolutionary way. There were more reasons that I want to pursue eating in a low food chain level than I could have imagined.

It was painful to know once a sacred animal developed into a 'thing' that is no more than something we would pick up at a store and 'use' because it is no more than just to be used.

I like to think there are
Rebecca Duncan
May 13, 2010 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - I liked this book, found it to be very factually presented and enjoyed the history as well as interesting cultural commentary on the reasons behind the prominence of beef consumption in today's society. But here's the thing. Twenty years later the "...fall of the cattle culture" half of the subtitle still hasn't happened. The conclusion rubbed me the wrong way because the fact of the matter is that a critical mass of millions of people haven't read this book and made the choice not t ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: farm-related
I was disappointed - I thought it would be balanced.
He is TOTALLY against anything beef. He does not go into small farms or home farmers - he never mentions the grass-fed trend or home farmers (which are growing in segment because of many of the things he complains of) and never mentions improvements made or in the process in ethical animal treatment (think Temple Grandin).
Good book if you are on track with him I suppose, but I really read it hoping to get a balanced picture of what IS, what is
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Rifkin's book, beyond Beef, is a truly insightful history lesson about America's love affair with Beef. This author has some very interesting ideas about why our Founding Father wanted to eradicate the American Indians from the plains - to make room for their grazing cattle. He also blames the British for Ireland's Great Famine. The Irish were left with only potatoes to eat while the British used Irish land to graze their cattle; that is until the Potato Famine of the 1740'2 left the Irish starv ...more
Alec O'Neill
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Continuing in my trend of food-based books, this is another alarming display of our industrial food system. Specifically, targeting the cow and all of its ill-begotten fortunes.

I was already inclined to buy the arguments in this book, and aware of the "hoofed-locust" destruction wrought by what most people assume is a fairly harmless animal. However, I was also ready to dispute the author's main argument - that ruminant animals, and especially the cow, should be removed from our diet.

Follow thi
Mike Moskos
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book
An important, comprehensive, and disturbing book.

While the book doesn't say it (it was written 20 years ago), raising beef can be extremely good for the environment and can build amazing soil, but it has to be done completely differently from the way it is commonly done now. Think 100% pastured cows on diversified micro farms. Some biodynamic farmers estimate that changing the way we grow beef could sequester twice as much carbon as the most alarmist climate scientists say is necessary. Some pe
Beth Barnett
Very well-written history of the beef cattle industry. The book covers the environmental impacts of the beef industry, health concerns, and modern meat processing in addition to historical developments.
This is getting somewhat outdated by the passage of time, but I feel it is probably still worth a read. It was one of the best written and informative books I read about the meat industry when I first became a vegetarian.
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a detailed writer. Well-researched. The writer really explored the history of the cow and how eating beef has shaped our culture today.

It will be a long time before I buy beef again, if ever. I definately recommend this to anyone struggling with vegetarianism, or anyone wanting to go vegan.

Sep 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: pre-2004
After reading this book as a teenager I didn't eat beef for a little while. Since then I've been around some big cattle ranches and realize Rifkin is very one sided and leaves parts of the story out. Now days I still don't eat much beef, but that is because a great mighty hunter taught me how to hunt.
Sep 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who cares about animals or their own health
I became a vegetarian in January of 2000 (over 7 1/2 years ago now), and I picked this book up shortly after. If nothing else, it sealed the deal for me. I am a life-long veggie. Very critical, but honest look at the cattle industry in our nation.
Oct 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Made me never want to eat beef again. And I have not for more than 15 years since reading this book. Probably a bit dated now, but I doubt much has changed.
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-issues
In some ways this is a modern version of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. The descriptions of abattoirs might make one think twice about eating much meat. It's a good history of the beef industry.
M Ortiz-dila
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book about the cattle industry and the effects of grazing cattle on our environment. I actually stopped eating beef for awhile after reading this.
Randall Clark
Dec 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
a great historical perspective on meat (esp beef) in societies past and present.
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
For people who really take pride in their carnivorous habits, this is a reasonable, solid examination of what led us to believe that steak for all was a moral good. Interesting history.
Oct 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although, I have to say, it strayed dangerously near the paranoid conspiracy theory cliff.
Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
this book made me a vegetarian for six years.
This was a hard read - I never did finish. Anyone else encounter troubles staying focused with this book? Hmm...
Oleksandr Hlushchenko
rated it it was amazing
Nov 04, 2015
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi, e, similari
Pur essendo sicuramente interessante, non è particolarmente scorrevole in alcuni suoi punti (soprattutto la prima parte). Può essere letto come approfondimento da persone che già conoscono qualcosa sull'argomento, altrimenti si corre il rischio di abbandonarlo (come libro divulgativo ho trovato molto meglio "Se niente importa" di Foer).
Marco Pesce
rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2016
Holly Headlee
rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2016
rated it liked it
Mar 24, 2012
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American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist.