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The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times

by

The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times Cover

 

Staff Pick

The Bloodless Revolution is a fascinating trek through the history of vegetarianism, from around 1600 until the present day. It is scholarly, accessible, and very thorough, and along the way, Tristam Stuart refreshes your memory of an entire host of philosophical and religious movements. Engaging, surprising (I had, for example, no idea how strongly the discovery of Hinduism in India affected Victorian England), and relevant, The Bloodless Revolution is destined to become a classic cultural work.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

The Bloodless Revolution is a fascinating trek through the history of vegetarianism, from around 1600 until the present day. It is scholarly, accessible, and very thorough, and along the way, Tristam Stuart refreshes your memory of an entire host of philosophical and religious movements. Engaging, surprising (I had, for example, no idea how strongly the discovery of Hinduism in India affected Victorian England), and relevant, The Bloodless Revolution is destined to become a classic cultural work.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

How Western Christianity and Eastern philosophy merged to spawn a political movement that had the prohibition of meat at its core.

The Bloodless Revolution is a pioneering history of puritanical revolutionaries, European Hinduphiles, and visionary scientists who embraced radical ideas from the East and conspired to overthrow Western society's voracious hunger for meat. At the heart of this compelling history are the stories of John Zephaniah Holwell, survivor of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and John Stewart and John Oswald, who traveled to India in the eighteenth century, converted to the animal-friendly tenets of Hinduism, and returned to Europe to spread the word. Leading figures of the Enlightenment — among them Rousseau, Voltaire, and Benjamin Franklin — gave intellectual backing to the vegetarians, sowing the seeds for everything from Victorian soup kitchens to contemporary animal rights and environmentalism.

Spanning across three centuries with reverberations to our current world, The Bloodless Revolution is a stunning debut from a young historian with enormous talent and promise. 24 pages of color illustrations.

Review:

"The word 'vegetarian' wasn't coined until the 1840s, but Stuart's magisterial social history demonstrates how deeply seated the vegetarian impulse has been in Western culture since the 17th century. Thinkers such as Francis Bacon and Thomas Bushell contended that a vegetarian diet provided a key not only to long life but also to spiritual perfection: God had permitted Adam and Eve to eat only plants, fruits and seeds, and doing so could restore humankind to Edenic wholeness with nature. Seventeenth- and 18th-century travelers to India introduced the Hindu idea of ahimsa (the preservation of all life) as an ideal for a slaughter-free society. Stuart follows the development of vegetarianism through its Romantic proponents Shelley and Rousseau and on into the 19th century, when doctors proffered scientific evidence that human teeth and intestines were more similar to those of herbivores than of carnivores. Looking at literary culture, Stuart notes that Samuel Richardson, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen included vegetarian characters in their novels. Stuart offers a masterful social and cultural history of a movement that changed the ways people think about the food they eat. 24 pages of color illus., b&w illus. throughout." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

""[M]arvelously researched, deeply revealing....Students of this phenomenon will be forever grateful for Stuart's immense bibliography." Booklist

Review:

"[T]here is nothing narrow about the author's focus. Both scholarly and entertaining, The Bloodless Revolution is a huge feast of ideas..." Mark Kurlansky, The Washington Post

Review:

"[T]his work is extensively researched and includes detailed descriptions of ideological arguments advocating vegetarianism." Library Journal

Review:

"An epic of non-carnivorous restraint....Culinary and cultural history intertwined: readable, and endlessly interesting." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Whatever his dietary allegiances, Stuart...exhibits immense learning....Indeed, this book's appetite is so all-engorging and so tirelessly persistent, it does not stimulate easy digestion in others.... Yet once digested, Stuart's argument really does alter perceptions." New York Times

Review:

"It is a beautifully written work of impressive scholarship, perhaps the most erudite yet to appear on the subject of vegetarian history." San Francisco Chronicle

Book News Annotation:

This social and intellectual history of vegetarianism in Europe is simultaneously broad-ranging and remarkably nuanced in its understandings of how the vegetarian movement was based in varied and sometimes contradictory sources, including Biblical understandings of the fall, Enlightenment searches for a better human diet, French revolutionary understandings of hierarchies of oppression, and colonial encounters with India. He traces these and other strands as they interacted with each other and as they reacted to the meat- eaters backlash that, in its very sharpness, testified to the power of the vegetarian challenge. He also makes the case that the varied vegetarian movements helped lay the basis for the emergence of the modern ecological consciousness that plays such a large role in contemporary world politics. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

The Bloodless Revolution is a pioneering history of puritanical revolutionaries, European Hinduphiles, and visionary scientists who embraced radical ideas from the East and conspired to overthrow Western society's voracious hunger for meat. At the heart of this compelling history are the stories of John Zephaniah Holwell, survivor of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and John Stewart and John Oswald, who traveled to India in the eighteenth century, converted to the animal-friendly tenets of Hinduism, and returned to Europe to spread the word. Leading figures of the Enlightenmentamong them Rousseau, Voltaire, and Benjamin Franklingave intellectual backing to the vegetarians, sowing the seeds for everything from Victorian soup kitchens to contemporary animal rights and environmentalism.

Spanning across three centuries with reverberations to our current world, The Bloodless Revolution is a stunning debut from a young historian with enormous talent and promise.

About the Author

Tristram Stuart graduated from Cambridge University in 1999, having won numerous academic prizes. Since then he has been a freelance writer for a number of Indian newspapers. The Bloodless Revolution is his first book. He lives in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393052206
Author:
Stuart, Tristram
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
History
Subject:
Vegetarianism
Subject:
Diets - Special Conditions
Subject:
World - General
Subject:
Modern - General
Subject:
Vegetarian - General
Subject:
World
Subject:
Vegetarian - Vegan
Subject:
Vegetarianism - Europe - History
Subject:
Vegetarianism -- Religious aspects.
Subject:
Vegetarian
Subject:
World History-1650 to Present
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070131
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
24 pages of color illustrations
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.7 x 1.7 in 2.4 lb

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
Cooking and Food » Vegetarian and Vegan » Vegetarian and Natural
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present

The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 656 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393052206 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Bloodless Revolution is a fascinating trek through the history of vegetarianism, from around 1600 until the present day. It is scholarly, accessible, and very thorough, and along the way, Tristam Stuart refreshes your memory of an entire host of philosophical and religious movements. Engaging, surprising (I had, for example, no idea how strongly the discovery of Hinduism in India affected Victorian England), and relevant, The Bloodless Revolution is destined to become a classic cultural work.

"Staff Pick" by ,

The Bloodless Revolution is a fascinating trek through the history of vegetarianism, from around 1600 until the present day. It is scholarly, accessible, and very thorough, and along the way, Tristam Stuart refreshes your memory of an entire host of philosophical and religious movements. Engaging, surprising (I had, for example, no idea how strongly the discovery of Hinduism in India affected Victorian England), and relevant, The Bloodless Revolution is destined to become a classic cultural work.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The word 'vegetarian' wasn't coined until the 1840s, but Stuart's magisterial social history demonstrates how deeply seated the vegetarian impulse has been in Western culture since the 17th century. Thinkers such as Francis Bacon and Thomas Bushell contended that a vegetarian diet provided a key not only to long life but also to spiritual perfection: God had permitted Adam and Eve to eat only plants, fruits and seeds, and doing so could restore humankind to Edenic wholeness with nature. Seventeenth- and 18th-century travelers to India introduced the Hindu idea of ahimsa (the preservation of all life) as an ideal for a slaughter-free society. Stuart follows the development of vegetarianism through its Romantic proponents Shelley and Rousseau and on into the 19th century, when doctors proffered scientific evidence that human teeth and intestines were more similar to those of herbivores than of carnivores. Looking at literary culture, Stuart notes that Samuel Richardson, Mary Shelley and Jane Austen included vegetarian characters in their novels. Stuart offers a masterful social and cultural history of a movement that changed the ways people think about the food they eat. 24 pages of color illus., b&w illus. throughout." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , ""[M]arvelously researched, deeply revealing....Students of this phenomenon will be forever grateful for Stuart's immense bibliography."
"Review" by , "[T]here is nothing narrow about the author's focus. Both scholarly and entertaining, The Bloodless Revolution is a huge feast of ideas..."
"Review" by , "[T]his work is extensively researched and includes detailed descriptions of ideological arguments advocating vegetarianism."
"Review" by , "An epic of non-carnivorous restraint....Culinary and cultural history intertwined: readable, and endlessly interesting."
"Review" by , "Whatever his dietary allegiances, Stuart...exhibits immense learning....Indeed, this book's appetite is so all-engorging and so tirelessly persistent, it does not stimulate easy digestion in others.... Yet once digested, Stuart's argument really does alter perceptions."
"Review" by , "It is a beautifully written work of impressive scholarship, perhaps the most erudite yet to appear on the subject of vegetarian history."
"Synopsis" by , The Bloodless Revolution is a pioneering history of puritanical revolutionaries, European Hinduphiles, and visionary scientists who embraced radical ideas from the East and conspired to overthrow Western society's voracious hunger for meat. At the heart of this compelling history are the stories of John Zephaniah Holwell, survivor of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and John Stewart and John Oswald, who traveled to India in the eighteenth century, converted to the animal-friendly tenets of Hinduism, and returned to Europe to spread the word. Leading figures of the Enlightenmentamong them Rousseau, Voltaire, and Benjamin Franklingave intellectual backing to the vegetarians, sowing the seeds for everything from Victorian soup kitchens to contemporary animal rights and environmentalism.

Spanning across three centuries with reverberations to our current world, The Bloodless Revolution is a stunning debut from a young historian with enormous talent and promise.
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