Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats

Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats

by Maryn McKenna


$24.30 $27.00 Save 10% Current price is $24.3, Original price is $27. You Save 10%.
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, August 23


In this eye-opening exposé, acclaimed health journalist and National Geographic contributor Maryn McKenna documents how antibiotics transformed chicken from local delicacy to industrial commodity—and human health threat—uncovering the ways we can make America's favorite meat safer again.

What you eat matters—for your health, for the environment, and for future generations. In this riveting investigative narrative, McKenna dives deep into the world of modern agriculture by way of chicken: from the farm where it's raised directly to your dinner table. Consumed more than any other meat in the United States, chicken is emblematic of today's mass food-processing practices and their profound influence on our lives and health. Tracing its meteoric rise from scarce treat to ubiquitous global commodity, McKenna reveals the astounding role of antibiotics in industrial farming, documenting how and why "wonder drugs" revolutionized the way the world eats—and not necessarily for the better. Rich with scientific, historical, and cultural insights, this spellbinding cautionary tale shines a light on one of America's favorite foods—and shows us the way to safer, healthier eating for ourselves and our children. 

In August 2019 this book will be published in paperback with the title Plucked: Chicken, Antibiotics, and How Big Business Changed the Way the World Eats.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426217661
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 278,059
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

MARYN MCKENNA is an award-winning journalist and the author of two critically acclaimed books, Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. She writes for Wired, National Geographic, Scientific American, Slate, Nature, The Atlantic, the Guardian, National Geographic magazine's online science salon Phenomena, and others, and is a senior fellow of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Table of Contents

Prologue 9

Part 1 How Chicken Became Essential

1 Illness, and a Bad Year 17

2 Better Living Through Chemistry 33

3 Meat for the Price of Bread 55

4 Resistance Begins 75

5 Proving the Problem 101

Part 2 How Chicken Became Dangerous

6 Epidemics as Evidence 125

7 The Triumph of the Hybrids 149

8 The Cost of Contamination 171

9 The Unpredicted Danger 189

Part 3 How Chicken Changed

10 The Value of Small 211

11 Choosing Cooperation 227

12 The View From the Barn 245

13 The Market Speaks 263

14 The Past Creates the Future 285

Epilogue 309

Acknowledgments 317

Notes 323

Bibliography 347

Index 391

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews