For those who can’t get enough: The New Yorker goes long on the global food crisis this week with an omnibus review by the Sunday Telegraph’s Bee Wilson (herself the author, inevitably, of a book on honeybees). Wilson takes a look at what she calls “a second wave of food-politics books, which has taken the genre to a new level of apocalyptic foreboding.” She’s defining the first wave as Fast Food Nation, which may have been truly terrifying but “also left some readers with a feeling of mild complacency, as they closed the book and turned to a wholesome supper of spinach and ricotta tortellini.” In this second wave—consisting of books on the food crisis, overfishing, and more—we’re all implicated.
Perhaps the best single overview of this new crop of books, including Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, Wilson’s piece is nonetheless a bit too dismissive of Raj Patel’s and
Paul Roberts’s attacks on cheap food. “The current food crises are the result of food being too expensive to buy, rather than too cheap,” Wilson writes. That’s technically true, of course, but as an explanation, it seems too neat and self-satisfied, and doesn’t deal with, say, why many countries no longer have their own reserves of food. But that’s an aside: Read the article.