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4 Works 472 Members 16 Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Leonard is the New York Times bestselling author of The Meat Racket. He writes for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
Image credit: Christopher Leonard

Works by Christopher Leonard


Common Knowledge




If I didn’t already loathe Tyson Foods, I certainly would now.
corliss12000 | 7 other reviews | Mar 16, 2024 |
The Robber barons are back and Tysons Foods has a starring role. The meat industry is so heavily concentrated that a few companies are raking in record profits (even during the recession) while consumers pay ever higher prices and farmers receive an ever smaller percentage of the profits. Farmers are pitted against each other in a tournament system that penalizes those whose "feed to pound" ratio is less than the average. Farmers go bankrupt and then the farm is bought by a new farmer who takes out huge loans to buy the newest equipment, until they too go bankrupt. From the perspective of those who work in the slaughterhouses or farms, it's like "The Jungle" all over again.… (more)
pollycallahan | 7 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
Kochland is a thoroughly researched, extensive history of Koch Industries, which is a new angle in the slightly crowded genre of "how the Koch brothers fucked everything up for the rest of us," so it's worth a read if that's a subject that you're interested in. However, I found the structure very frustrating. It's constantly jumping around between topics and times, so I would get invested in learning what the outcome of a particular situation was and would then have to sit through five chapters about other stuff before finally getting the resolution, at which point I'd forgotten some of the details from the first chapter about the thing and would have to page back to look at it again. Also, Part II is almost entirely about commodities trading and although the author is trying very, very hard to make it interesting, there's only so much you can do to make that appeal to general audiences.

I was also extremely disappointed to see a book from one of the big publishers with multiple spelling errors. It may be that these were only in the ebook version, but it does feel like part of a trend of sloppily edited books that I've been noticing in the past several years, across genres and publishers.
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xenoglossy | 7 other reviews | Aug 17, 2022 |
This book looks at the meat industry, with more of a focus on the chicken industry: the way factory farming built up, the history of it. It started with the chicken industry first via Tyson Foods in 1929 with Jim Tyson. His son, Don, later took over and continued to grow the business, eating up all the different steps in the process, in addition to most of the smaller competitors. They control every step of the chicken business and have incredible power over the farmers, who are often driven to bankruptcy. But the banks continue to fund more farmers to take the places of the bankrupt farmers, because the banks get their money back on those defaulted loans from a federal program (that was not originally meant for this purpose!).

While reading the book, it hadn’t occurred to me to rate it as high as I am, but I feel like my reaction to the book warrants it. The anger, the swearing at the book, the emotions the book brought out it me, I think, warrants the 5 stars. It did make me angry and frustrated that things are going this way, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it… unless the government gets some teeth and stops bowing to the corporate lobbyists for the good of the regular people, the good of the farmers. Well worth the read for anyone who wants to know (and even those who don’t!) what is going on with our modern-day food (or, at least meat) industry.
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LibraryCin | 7 other reviews | Aug 18, 2021 |


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