Justin's Reviews > Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System

Stuffed And Starved by Raj Patel
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's review
May 03, 2010

really liked it

This book makes a splendid introductory text to the evils of the modern food system. I can say that because it was my introduction and I feel well introduced. You may have suspected that there was something rotten about the modern alimentary chain and Raj Patel will tell you exactly what. It starts with the nifty premise that the world’s overfed and underfed have something in common: they’re both getting played by multinational food interests. It explores that connection from the top of the supply chain on down, from the Brazilian soy tycoons whose goods find their way into almost everything we eat to the awful truth about high fructose corn syrup, fast food and the campaign to fatten us up kids at a gingerbread house. It even ends on a nice note, with a profile of the myriad small farmers organizations sprouting up around what Patel calls the “Global South” and providing a utopian-sounding alternative in the form of cooperative living and agriculture. While I found these passages particularly enlightening, they tinge the writing red in a way some readers, even lefties, are liable to find obnoxious. While thoroughly researched (the index and reference section occupies about a third of the book), the writing is also haphazard at parts, though you can’t find fault with Patel’s diction. It sounds rather like it was both written and edited in a frenzy to get it to press and little concern for the kind of awkward constructions, repetition and passive voice that reminds lazy writers like me that we’re not alone.

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