Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Book Review: So Shall We Reap by Colin Tudge

Food continues to become cheaper and accessible through supermarkets, but is it getting better, and is the current supply sustainable? In "So Shall We Reap" Colin Tudge deals with such questions by linking gastronomy, the hunter gatherer and the rural economy to oil production, health, animal welfare and cut-throat business practices. In this book the reader learns about the global food industry and how it has changed throughout the last century and how these changes have resulted in the call for Genetically Modified Organisms by parties set to benefit economically by their introduction.

Although written by a scientist, who is able to rely on countless disciplines for his arguments, this book is an enjoyable and informative read, linking from one topic to another with great skill in something of a revelationary style. This book is the story of how modern agriculture is nowhere near as "efficient" as many politicians would have us believe, burdened as it is by its link to the availability of cheap oil, pollution, the demise of the rural economy and the uneven distribution of wealth.

For anyone interested in cuisine, social equality, conservation or agriculture this book is an essential read and one can only feel that if those involved in agricultural policy making had an awareness of how all these issues fit together as acute as the author's then humanity might not be languishing as it is. This book is logically argued and the author does well to counter arguments against his philosphy before they are raised. Some points, however, are a little repetatively argued but, as the adage says, if a point is worth making once.........

I would suggest that to students of agriculture, ecology, conservation, politics and social affairs this book is essential reading and readers with an enquiring mind will find it surpringly interesting. The themes covered here affect everybody and as such it will be enjoyed by any reader who enjoys intelligently argued writing.

Score: 9.5/10

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