Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-To-Table History of How Beef Changed America


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.5 X 1.5 inches | 1.15 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Joshua Specht is assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. Twitter @joshspecht


"This book reveals how Americans became beef eaters, and it is not a story you know. Joshua Specht shows how this dramatic change in America's diet was grounded in a history of violence and social struggle, one that saw meatpackers prevailing over ranchers and butchers and becoming the feeders of the rapidly expanding republic."--Pekka Hämäläinen, author of The Comanche Empire
"Specht's evocation of specific places--from the plains and the varied sites of industrial labor to the shops where meat was bought and the tables at which it was eaten--persuasively grounds his story in American culture. This is an impressive and compelling book."--Harriet Ritvo, author of Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History
"Specht's wonderful and impressive research covers an enormous territory. Red Meat Republic will reshape historians' approach to this important topic."--John Mack Faragher, author of Eternity Street: Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles
"Peeling the plastic wrap off the cut, Specht uncovers the political economy of modern meat, from violent dispossession to high-stakes struggles over labor and profits."--Kristin L. Hoganson, author of The Heartland: An American History
"Explaining how Americans came to eat so much beef and to pay so little for it turns out to be an especially gargantuan enterprise, which Specht pulls off with aplomb, in accessible and sprightly prose."---Samuel Moyn, New Republic
"Specht's story of how the meatpackers exploited unskilled labour, bankrupted local butchers and seized power from the railroads holds warnings for today."---Brooke Masters, Financial Times
"In a signal contribution to a growing scholarship on the history of food, Specht's Red Meat Republic carefully traces the emergence of the modern beef industry, following the story from cow path to slaughterhouse. A troubling, fascinating read."--Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States
"A fascinating cultural exploration."---Rebecca Onion, History Today
"One Smithsonian's Ten Best Books About Food of 2019"
"Specht tells the little-known story of how Americans became beef-eaters. From cattle ranches in the rural West to slaughterhouses in Chicago, the environmental and business historian charts the path of meat and, in doing so, delivers what is really a tale of people and power. . . . By following the meat industry through centuries of conflict, this book puts a new, troubling lens on American history."---Andrea Michelson, Smithsonian
"Co-Winner of the Silver Medal in Business Commentary, Axiom Business Book Awards"