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The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenanceby Tovar Cerulli
Synopses & Reviews
As a boy, Tovar Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of twenty he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory and within a few years found himself headed into the woods, rifle in hand.
Through his personal quest, Cerulli bridges disparate worldviews and questions moral certainties. Are fishing and hunting barbaric, murderous anachronisms? Or can they be respectful ways for humans to connect to nature? How harmless is vegetarianism? Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts?
In this time of intensifying concern over ecological degradation and animal welfare, how do we make peace with the fact that, even in growing organic vegetables, life is sustained by death? Drawing on personal anecdotes, philosophy, history, and religion, Cerulli shows how America's overly sanitized habits of consumption have disconnected us from food and nature, resulting in many of the spiritual and environmental crises we now face.
"In his first book, Cerulli, who has written for such publications as Outdoor America and Massachusetts Wildlife, recounts his journey from meat eater to vegetarian, then vegan and, finally, back to eating meat. Growing up in Vermont and later working as a logger and, Cerulli has a deep connection to the land and nature, which makes him think seriously about his changing eating habits and, at times, gives his writing a deeply meditative qualityAs a graduate of The New School for Social Research who is currently studying the 'diverse perspectives on human relationships with the natural world,' Cerulli also offers historical expositions on topics like vegetarianism, logging, wildlife conservation, ecology, religion, philosophy and hunting peppered through out. The combination of these two writing style works nicely to give the reader a thorough background of the author and his struggle to find a 'holistic way of eating and living,' but it is the latter third of the book, when Cerulli takes his first tentative steps to becoming a hunter, that his writing truly shines — it transform the story into a touching and thought-provoking exploration on not only what we eat but how we eat it." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A remarkably candid, nuanced, and engaging meditation on what it means to be a human.... There are no prescriptions or preachy admonitions — just an honest account of the mindful unfolding of a person who has taken seriously the responsibility of being dependent upon the death of other organisms in order to live. The Mindful Carnivore is a bracing read." Jan E. Dizard, author of Going Wild and Mortal Stakes
"Tovar Cerulli offers penetrating insights into not only where our food comes from, but what our daily dietary choices say about who we are as human beings." Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast
"Full of compassion, curiosity, and a nourishing eloquence, Cerulli's story is a healthy reminder that our choices matter, an invitation to vegetarians and carnivores alike to examine their paths to sustenance." Langdon Cook, author of Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager
"On the surface, the worldviews of hunters and vegans couldn't be further apart, but Cerulli is a bridge between the two — a valuable reminder that camouflage and Birkenstocks aren't as incompatible as most would like to think." Holly A. Heyser, blogger at NorCal Cazadora
A vegan-turned-hunter reignites the connection between humans and our food sources and continues the dialogue begun by Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver.
About the Author
Tovar Cerulli graduated from The New School for Social Research and has worked as a logger, carpenter, and freelance writer. In 2009, he was awarded a graduate school fellowship by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he is researching diverse perspectives on human relationships with the natural world. He lives in Vermont with his wife Catherine.
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