Before reading this book, it’s important to know two things about author John Robbins. First, he is a passionate vegetarian that really does not mean to preach. Second, he is the heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire and his life work involves undermining the family business. Robbins walks a delicate balance in his own life, and despite the aggressive title, does manage an equivalent balance in No Happy Cows. While Robbins leaves no doubt where his opinion rests, he takes great pains to give opposing ideas due consideration.

Robbins’ exploration of the United States food industry analyses current food research, and looks into the processing and marketing of food from the living conditions of animals raised for food to how the food is marketed to consumers. Robbins especially takes on the fast food industry with heavy focus on dairy and meat production. He also critically examines the darlings of the natural foods movement including soy, dark chocolate, and free range farming techniques. He does not gloss over any issue, and even holds himself accountable for how his own lifestyle contributes to the underlying cultural conflict around food.


~ review by Diana Rajchel

Author: John Robbins
Red Wheel Weiser, 2012
pp. 185, $16.95