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Summary

Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the best-selling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic and culinary story of milk and all things dairy - with recipes throughout. 

According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself. 

Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the 19th century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization. 

Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics and economics. 

©2018 Mark Kurlansky (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"Milk! A 10,000-Year Food Fracas is a feat of investigation, compilation and organization.... Altogether a complex and rich survey, Milk! is a book well worth nursing." (Wall Street Journal)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Scarlatti's Muse
  • 15-05-18

Horrible narration nearly kills Kurlansky

I have been a fan of Mark Kurlansky for many years but this is the first audio book I've experienced. Brian Sutherland's narration is a colorless monotone which leads me to believe that he was thoroughly bored by the topic. With a different narrator, Milk! would have been a thrilling history but Sutherland makes it as interesting as reading a telephone directory. What a shame!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-05-18

I'm generally a Krulansky fan, but...

I'm only on Chapter 5, but I've got to say, I'm disappointed. So far, way too many recipes, too little interesting information.
And the narrator... Not just the style, but I'm really worried about the pronunciation. I've read many times that, Boston Celtics notwithstanding, Celt is pronounced "Kelt", not "Selt". And that's just one of several questionable pronunciations I've encountered. Where are the editors here? I expect more of professional narration.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • E. Schaffer
  • 13-05-18

more a recipe book then exploration. boring

his previous work was really interesting. but this book is half recipe listings. an audio book of recipes is just silly. I dumped the book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • timers
  • 17-06-18

Narration is TERRIBLE

It feels like a computer is automatically pronouncing a list of comma separated words, couldn't make it through the first chapter.

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  • Ann
  • 31-05-18

Read the Book....But don't listen to it!!!

Mark Kurlansky is an instant buy for me. The stranger the topic, the more fascinating I know it will be. So when I saw he had a new book, I went ahead and used my credit without listening to the audio sample. Big Mistake!! The narration sounds so robotic that I'm almost convinced that it IS just a chatbot. The charm of the writing is completely lost by the stilted and monotone delivery.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicholas E. Ertz
  • 29-05-18

Don't cry over it

There is a lot of time to cover. This is not an exciting book, too much "and then this and then that" to make it very engaging. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that milk has been debated since the beginning. First, which is better, cow or goat or camel or buffalo or... Then, why does everyone die after drinking this milk? Yet, who doesn't like a good piece of cheese?

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-05-18

Lots of very interesting information

I found it a little hard to follow the ‘story line’ at times and narration was very monotone