In Meat We Trust

An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

Maureen Ogle

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2013

The moment European settlers arrived in North America, they began transforming the land into a meat-eater’s paradise. Long before revolution turned colonies into nation, Americans were eating meat on a scale the Old World could neither imagine nor provide: an average European was lucky to see meat once a week, while even a poor American man put away about two hundred pounds a year.

Maureen Ogle guides us from that colonial paradise to the urban meat-making factories of the nineteenth century to the hyper-efficient packing plants of the late twentieth century. From Swift and Armour to Tyson, Cargill, and ConAgra. From the 1880s cattle bonanza to 1980s feedlots. From agribusiness to today’s “local” meat suppliers and organic countercuisine. Along the way, Ogle explains how Americans’ carnivorous demands shaped urban landscapes, midwestern prairies, and western ranges, and how the American system of meat making became a source of both pride and controversy.

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About the Author

Maureen Ogle is a historian and the author of several books, including Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer (Harcourt, 2006). She has appeared in a number of television documentaries and written for The Washington Post, Scientific American, Slate, and others.

Ogle holds a Masters and Ph.D. in American history from Iowa State University. She lives in Iowa.