288 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones, notes, bibl., index
The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921
Vegetarianism has been practiced in the United States since the country's founding, yet the early years of the movement have been woefully misunderstood and understudied. Through the Civil War, the vegetarian movement focused on social and political reform, but by the late nineteenth century, the movement became a path for personal strength and success in a newly individualistic, consumption-driven economy. This development led to greater expansion and acceptance of vegetarianism in mainstream society. So argues Adam D. Shprintzen in his lively history of early American vegetarianism and social reform. From Bible Christians to Grahamites, the American Vegetarian Society to the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Shprintzen explores the diverse proponents of reform-motivated vegetarianism and explains how each of these groups used diet as a response to changing social and political conditions.
By examining the advocates of vegetarianism, including institutions, organizations, activists, and publications, Shprintzen explores how an idea grew into a nationwide community united not only by diet but also by broader goals of social reform.
"This unique, readable history of the vegetarian movement in America reveals its deep roots . . . [and] will make fascinating reading for proponents of a healthy lifestyle and students of Americana alike."
"This well-researched and accessible work is recommended for readers of U.S. social history and for vegetarians interested in knowing that the roots of their movement go deeper than the publication of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation and the founding of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Fans of culinary history books . . . will also find much to love here."
“Shprintzen’s original and probing book offers many ideas for researchers and writers to explore.”
--History News Network
“History comes back to life in [The Vegetarian Crusade].”
“An excellent overview of the US vegetarian movement. . . [with] lucid, lively prose . . . . Highly recommended. All academic, general, and professional food history collections.”
"This important book unravels the ideological and organizational roots of what is today a powerful quickly growing dietary movement and how it moved from the fringes to mainstream. It introduces a host of colorful figures such as Sylvester Graham, William Alcott and John Harvey Kellogg and the many battles they fought in the early years of American vegetarianism. A fascinating story with surprises at every step."
--Ken Albala, professor of history, University of the Pacific
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