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Meathooked

by Marta Zaraska

A few years ago, Marta Zaraska’s mother decided to go vegetarian after stumbling upon an article on the health risks of eating meat. Her resolve lasted about a fortnight before the juicy hams and the creamy pâtés began creeping back into her refrigerator. Prodded to explain her lapse, she replied, "I like meat, I eat it, end of story. ” Many of us have had a similar experience. What makes us crave animal protein, and what makes it so hard to give up? And if all the studies are correct, and consuming meat is truly unhealthy for us, why didn’t evolution turn us all into vegetarians in the first place? In Meathooked, Zaraska explores what she calls the "meat puzzle”: our love of meat, despite its harmful effects. Scientific journals overflow with reports of red meat raising the risk of certain cancers; each hamburger contributes as much to global warming as does driving a car 320 miles; and the horrors of industrial meat production are now well-known. None of these facts have prompted us to give up our hamburgers and steaks. On the contrary, meat consumption has only increased over the past decades. Taking the reader to India’s unusual steakhouses, animal sacrifices at temples in Benin, and labs in Pennsylvania where meat is being grown in petri dishes, Zaraska examines the history and future of meat and meat-eating, showing that while our increasing consumption of meat can be attributed in part to the power of the meat industry and the policies of our governments, the main "hooks” that keep us addicted to meat are much older: genes and culture. An original and thought-provoking exploration of carnivorousness, Meathooked explains one of the most enduring features of human civilization--and why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies and our world into the foreseeable future.

Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe

by Michael Neiberg

After Germany’s defeat in World War II, Europe lay in tatters. Millions of refugees were dispersed across the continent. Food and fuel were scarce. Britain was bankrupt, while Germany had been reduced to rubble. In July of 1945, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin gathered in a quiet suburb of Berlin to negotiate a lasting peace: a peace that would finally put an end to the conflagration that had started in 1914, a peace under which Europe could be rebuilt. The award-winning historian Michael Neiberg brings the turbulent Potsdam conference to life, vividly capturing the delegates’ personalities: Truman, trying to escape from the shadow of Franklin Roosevelt, who had died only months before; Churchill, bombastic and seemingly out of touch; Stalin, cunning and meticulous. For the first week, negotiations progressed relatively smoothly. But when the delegates took a recess for the British elections, Churchill was replaced--both as prime minster and as Britain’s representative at the conference--in an unforeseen upset by Clement Attlee, a man Churchill disparagingly described as "a sheep in sheep’s clothing. ” When the conference reconvened, the power dynamic had shifted dramatically, and the delegates struggled to find a new balance. Stalin took advantage of his strong position to demand control of Eastern Europe as recompense for the suffering experienced by the Soviet people and armies. The final resolutions of the Potsdam Conference, notably the division of Germany and the Soviet annexation of Poland, reflected the uneasy geopolitical equilibrium between East and West that would come to dominate the twentieth century. As Neiberg expertly shows, the delegates arrived at Potsdam determined to learn from the mistakes their predecessors made in the Treaty of Versailles. But, riven by tensions and dramatic debates over how to end the most recent war, they only dimly understood that their discussions of peace were giving birth to a new global conflict.

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