Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us

By Christopher D. Cook. <I>New Press</I>. $24.95.

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Just looking at its putrescent manure-green dust jacket, it’s clear that Diet for a Dead Planet isn’t light fare. Inside, Christopher Cook lays out a far-reaching takedown of the American food industry, from factory farms to supermarkets to federal regulators. Dead Planet further explores the stomach-churning realm described by Eric Schlosser and others, where a corporate oligarchy increasingly controls our food from farm to grocery shelf, to the detriment of our health and the environment.

Cook takes a disturbing look at the food-borne bacteria that kill thousands of Americans each year and are becoming more resilient thanks to the meat industry’s addiction to antibiotics. He shows us corporate lawyers menacing a rural African American woman in her 90s for complaining about a giant hog farm. (“We will ask the court to put you in prison,” they write in a cease-and-desist letter.) Cook also investigates how supermarket chains shake down food producers for kickbacks called “slotting fees” that can run into the millions of dollars and effectively keep small or independent food producers off the shelves. (Eliot Spitzer, where are you?)

If Cook sees some glimmers of hope in the upsurge of community gardening and the organics movement, he has some grim predictions here, too. As “natural” foods become more lucrative, they risk getting sucked into the machine, becoming just another offering in the “corporate cornucopia.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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