Antibiotics Changed the World. Then We Gave Them to Animals.

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

Chicken is the world’s most popular meat, but its path to our plates winds through a dark and fascinating history. BIG CHICKEN: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats explores the “backyard bird’s” meteoric rise from local delicacy to global commodity, and how it paved the way for a stunning transformation of farming worldwide.

Award-winning journalist (New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Wired, Scientific American), critically acclaimed author (SUPERBUG and BEATING BACK THE DEVIL), and TED speaker with more than 1.5 million views for her talk What do we do when antibiotics don't work anymore,Maryn McKenna takes readers on an extraordinary journey from farm to lab to restaurant, and into the kitchens of everyday Americans and families around the globe.

Drawing on more than 100 interviews in the United States and Europe with farmers, lawyers, historians, microbiologists, politicians and chefs — and more than 1,000 pieces of research, McKenna pieces together the parallel, intertwined stories of the achievement of “growth promoter” antibiotics and the rise of the modern poultry industry. In a tour de force of scientific and cultural history, McKenna finds the connections between flavor and nutrition, genetics and history, labor and the role of women, and pollution and politics. 

 "A must-read for anyone who cares about the quality of food and the welfare of animals."
- Mark Bittman, author of How To Cook Everything

  • Maryn McKenna is an award-winning journalist and the author of two critically acclaimed books, Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. She writes for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Newsweek, NPR, Wired, National Geographic, Scientific American, Slate, Nature and others, and is a senior fellow of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and a journalism instructor at the University of Georgia.

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