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Review: One Part of 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' - Book Report/Review Example

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Michael Pollan opens his book entitled The Omnivore’s Dilemma with a lengthy discussion on the origins, major features and implications of corn in modern American life. One would expect these chapters, therefore, to be backed up with solid facts, to be argued in a sustained…
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Book Review: One Part of The Omnivores Dilemma
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Download file to see previous pages Drawing on examples from history, science and commerce these three sections present a convincing argument which demonstrates how indispensable this natural product has been to the human race.
The first strand of Pollan’s argument comes from the history of corn. It has played an important part in the rise and fall of many civilizations, starting with those in Mexico and other South American peoples whose populations were nourished on the locally abundant corn plants. Secondly, modern science has since found out that corn can mutate extremely easily to adapt to changing weather and soil conditions. Corn is also a much more efficient user of resources than other staple species such as wheat. Finally, in the third section particularly, Pollan shows how the superior qualities of corn have sparked many inventions, not only in food applications, but also in other areas such as fuel and fabrics as well. The large number of uses that can be made of corn have contributed towards the rise of capitalism in North America.
These three opening sections of the book make use of well documented facts, such as the spread of species across the territory, and the experience of early settlers who had no previous knowledge of corn. These facts are woven into an argument using also some advanced information from the field of genetics and plant cultivation. In this way Pollan demonstrates not only what happened, but why people were so keen to adopt corn instead of less profitable grains. The fact that even husks and stalks could be put to good use is a good argument for the adoption of corn, because waste is reduced and the raw material can provide jobs and income for many people. Again and again good evidence is cited, and this meets the expectations of the reader in terms of sustained argument, while the many examples prove that the argument is logical.
One weakness of the section under discussion is that the author tends to make use of rather overblown imagery, such as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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