Springer Mountain

Meditations on Killing and Eating

By Wyatt Williams

128 pp., 5 x 8, 6 halftones, notes, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6548-1
    Published: September 2021
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6549-8
    Published: September 2021

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Drawing on years of investigative reporting, Wyatt Williams offers a powerful look at why we kill and eat animals. In order to understand why we eat meat, the restaurant critic and journalist investigated factory farms, learned to hunt game, worked on a slaughterhouse kill floor, and partook in Indigenous traditions of whale eating in Alaska. In Springer Mountain, he tells about his experiences while charting the history of meat eating and vegetarianism.


Williams shows how mysteries springing up from everyday experiences can lead us into the big questions of life while examining the irreconcilable differences between humans and animals. Springer Mountain is a thought-provoking work, one that reveals how what we eat tells us who we are.

About the Author

Wyatt Williams is a former restaurant critic. His essays have been published by The New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, The Believer, and The Paris Review. In 2018, his essay “After Oranges” was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award and anthologized in The Best American Food Writing series.
For more information about Wyatt Williams, visit the Author Page.


"A short fever dream of a book...Springer Mountain is a masterpiece investigation into the philosophy of killing for food."—Foreword Reviews,/i>, starred review

"Similar to Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, this engaging narrative will catch readers’ attention and lead them to take a deeper look at the where, how, and why behind the food they consume...Using his extensive research and firsthand visits to farms and slaughterhouses, Williams creates a narrative of the culture, history, and societal views of meat, from factory farming to game hunting. Along the way, he offers personal insight from his years as a restaurant critic and food writer. In addition to foodies and historians, this book will appeal to readers wanting a better understanding of cultures and societies surrounding food."—Library Journal

"What are the implications of eating meat? In this release, former Atlanta restaurant critic Wyatt Williams applies years of investigative reporting to uncomfortable questions about animals and our appetites that, as factory farming proliferates, are only becoming more urgent. More profanely poetic than polemic—Williams is a kindred spirit to experimental essayists like Eula Biss—Springer Mountain gestures at the beating heart of life’s big inquiries."—INDY Week

"A thoughtful, multifaceted reflection on what it takes to produce meat for consumers...The writing is downright lyrical at times, but also wry & sobering. Williams’ goal is not to dissuade readers from eating meat, but to think about what goes into producing it for their consumption. The reality is not pretty, but Williams’ prose makes it go down easy."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Springer Mountain is a complicated, mysterious document, by turns poetic, problematic, perhaps even prophetic. At the end of the day, we might just call it a piece of literature, a work of art, an artifact all too rare in the world of food—The Rumpus

"Reading Wyatt Williams is always a pleasure."--Ruth Reichl, author of Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir