By the late nineteenth century, Americans rich and poor had come to expect high-quality fresh beef with almost every meal. Beef production in the United States had gone from small-scale, localized operations to a highly centralized industry spanning the country, with cattle bred on ranches in the rural West, slaughtered in Chicago, and consumed in the nation’s rapidly growing cities. Red Meat Republic tells the remarkable story of the violent conflict over who would reap the benefits of this new industry and who would bear its heavy costs.
Joshua Specht puts people at the heart of his story—the big cattle ranchers who helped to drive the nation’s westward expansion, the meatpackers who created a radically new kind of industrialized slaughterhouse, and the stockyard workers who were subjected to the shocking and unsanitary conditions described by Upton Sinclair in his novel The Jungle. Specht brings to life a turbulent era marked by Indian wars, Chicago labor unrest, and food riots in the streets of New York. He shows how the enduring success of the cattle-beef complex—centralized, low cost, and meatpacker dominated—was a consequence of the meatpackers’ ability to make their interests overlap with those of a hungry public, while the interests of struggling ranchers, desperate workers, and bankrupt butchers took a backseat. America—and the American table—would never be the same again.
A compelling and unfailingly enjoyable read, Red Meat Republic reveals the complex history of exploitation and innovation behind the food we consume today.
Stretching beyond the sweeping accounts typical of standard textbooks, Danbom challenges students to think about the many practicalities of surviving on the Great Plains in the late nineteenth century by providing a detailed account of how settlers acquired land and made homes, farms, and communities. He examines the physical and climatic obstacles of the plains—perhaps America’s most inhospitable frontier—and shows how settlers sheltered themselves, gained access to fuel and water, and broke the land for agriculture.
Treating the Great Plains as a post-industrial frontier, Danbom delves into the economic motivations of settlers, as well as the physically and economically difficult process of farm making. He explains how settlers got the capital they needed to succeed and how they used the labor of the entire family to survive until farms returned profits. He examines closely the business decisions that determined the success or failure of these farmers in a boom-and-bust economy; details the creation of churches, schools, and service centers that enriched the social and material lives of the settlers; and shows how the support of government, railroads, and other businesses contributed to the success of plains settlement.
Based on contemporary accounts, settlers’ reminiscences, and the work of other historians, Sod Busting dives deeply into the practical realities of how things worked to make vivid one of the quintessentially American experiences, breaking new land.
This glorious visual celebration of food in all its forms reveals the extraordinary cultural impact of the foods we eat, explores the early efforts of humans in their quest for sustenance, and tells the fascinating stories behind individual foods. With profiles of the most culturally and historically interesting foods of all types, from nuts and grains, fruits and vegetables, and meat and fish, to herbs and spices, this fascinating culinary historical reference provides the facts on all aspects of each food's unique story. Feature spreads shine a spotlight on influential international cuisines and the local foods that built them. The Story of Food explains how foods have become the cornerstone of our culture, from their origins to how they are eaten and their place in world cuisine.
The Story of Food is packed with sumptuous and evocative images that create a feast for the eyes, while the stories intrigue, surprise, and enthrall, making it the perfect gift for food lovers, cooks, gourmets, and history lovers with a penchant for food.
This study examines the effects of the Civil War on agriculture for both the Union and the Confederacy from 1860 to 1865, emphasizing how agriculture directly related to the war effort in each region—for example, the efforts made to produce more food for military and civilian populations; attempts to limit cotton production; cotton as a diplomatic tool; the work of women in the fields; slavery as a key agricultural resource; livestock production; experiments to produce cotton, tobacco, and sugar in the North; and the adoption of new implements.
Through his vivid narrative and ethnographic approach, Pachirat brings to life massive, routine killing from the perspective of those who take part in it. He shows how surveillance and sequestration operate within the slaughterhouse and in its interactions with the community at large. He also considers how society is organized to distance and hide uncomfortable realities from view. With much to say about issues ranging from the sociology of violence and modern food production to animal rights and welfare, "Every Twelve Seconds" is an important and disturbing work.
In this sense, Crosby's defining work is undoubtedly a fine example of the critical thinking skill of creativity; it comes up with new connections that explain the European success in colonizing the New World more as the product of biological catastrophe (in the shape of the introduction of new diseases) than of the actions of men, and posits that the most important consequences were not political – the establishment of new empires – but cultural and culinary; the population of China tripled, for example, as the result of the introduction of new world crops. Few new hypotheses have proved as stimulating or influential.
In The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Bernard Bailyn begged to differ, re-examining familiar evidence to establish new connections that in turn allowed him to generate fresh explanations. His influential reconceptualizing of the underlying reasons for America's independence drive focused instead on pamphleteering – and specifically on the actions of an influential group of ‘conspirators’ who identified, and were determined to protect, a particularly American set of values. For Bailyn, these ideas could indeed be traced back to the ferment of the English Civil War – stemming from radical pamphleteers whose anti-authoritarian ideas crossed the Atlantic and embedded themselves in colonial ideology. Bailyn's thesis helps to explain the Revolution's success by pointing out how deep-rooted its founding ideas were; the Founding Fathers may have been reading Locke, but the men they led were inspired by shorter, pithier and altogether far more radical works. Only by understanding this, Bailyn argues, can we understand the passion and determination that allowed the rebel American states to defeat a global superpower.