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Red Meat Republic


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About the Author

Joshua Specht teaches American history at Monash University in Australia. He divides his time between Melbourne and South Bend, Indiana. Twitter @joshspecht


"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
"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
"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
"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 Hamalainen, 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
"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
"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

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