Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats

Author:
Maryn McKenna
Publisher:
National Geographic
Category:
Environment

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

In this eye-opening exposé, acclaimed health journalist and National Geographic contributor Maryn McKenna documents how antibiotics transformed chicken from local delicacy to industrial commodity — and human health threat — uncovering the ways we can make America's favorite meat safer again.

What you eat matters — for your health, for the environment, and for future generations. In this riveting investigative narrative, McKenna dives deep into the world of modern agriculture by way of chicken: from the farm where it's raised directly to your dinner table. Consumed more than any other meat in the United States, chicken is emblematic of today's mass food-processing practices and their profound influence on our lives and health. Tracing its meteoric rise from scarce treat to ubiquitous global commodity, McKenna reveals the astounding role of antibiotics in industrial farming, documenting how and why "wonder drugs" revolutionized the way the world eats — and not necessarily for the better. Rich with scientific, historical, and cultural insights, this spellbinding cautionary tale shines a light on one of America's favorite foods — and shows us the way to safer, healthier eating for ourselves and our children.

August 28, 2017

Drexel University Online