Food Fights

How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates

Edited by Charles C. Ludington, Matthew Morse Booker

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 4 halftones, 1 graph, 4 tables, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5289-4
    Published: November 2019
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5288-7
    Published: November 2019
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-5290-0
    Published: August 2019
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5023-2
    Published: August 2019

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What we eat, where it is from, and how it is produced are vital questions in today’s America. We think seriously about food because it is freighted with the hopes, fears, and anxieties of modern life. Yet critiques of food and food systems all too often sprawl into jeremiads against modernity itself, while supporters of the status quo refuse to acknowledge the problems with today’s methods of food production and distribution. Food Fights sheds new light on these crucial debates, using a historical lens. Its essays take strong positions, even arguing with one another, as they explore the many themes and tensions that define how we understand our food—from the promises and failures of agricultural technology to the politics of taste.

In addition to the editors, contributors include Ken Albala, Amy Bentley, Charlotte Biltekoff, Peter A. Coclanis, Tracey Deutsch, S. Margot Finn, Rachel Laudan, Sarah Ludington, Margaret Mellon, Steve Striffler, and Robert T. Valgenti.

About the Authors

Charles C. Ludington is teaching associate professor of history at North Carolina State University.
For more information about Charles C. Ludington, visit the Author Page.

Matthew Morse Booker is associate professor of history at North Carolina State University.
For more information about Matthew Morse Booker, visit the Author Page.


Food Fights brings historical context to food studies, giving consideration and depth to how historical forces have shaped our current food system. . . . Ludington and Booker have curated an engaging and informative volume of thirteen essays. . . . The variety of perspectives offered . . . allows us to appreciate the current food system, warts and all, more sympathetically.”—Nature Food

"Food Fights lives up to its title—a collection of essays that not only shows divergent subjects and recommendations but also invites this disagreement, showcasing controversies in the contemporary world of food and the light that history sheds on these debates."—Paul Freedman, Yale University

"The 'good food movement' of the past twenty years has become a powerful voice, but debates around food are lamentably lacking in historical perspective. This dynamic collection introduces that valuable history into our political, social, ecological, and aesthetic discussions about food in America."—Jeffrey M. Pilcher, University of Toronto