Book review: Feast on ‘Lesser Beasts’ – Roanoke Times

Posted: Sunday, January 29, 2017 12:00 am

Book review: Feast on ‘Lesser Beasts’

Reviewed by Michael L. Ramsey | Michael L. Ramsey is president emeritus of the Roanoke Public Library Foundation.

roanoke.com

For millennia the pig has been revered and reviled. It has provided the preferred meat of aristocracy and has been banned by the followers of some religions. The pig once was an important — and profitable — element of the diversified family farm. Now pigs are raised in agricultural factories owned by large corporations.

Mark Essig provides a comprehensive and entertaining journey through human history using the pig as a guide. His “Lesser Beasts” is a well-crafted contribution to a genre of historical writing that is palatable to the general reader and the history scholar — the use of a single item (or creature) to illustrate changes in human behavior over time and from one culture to another.

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