Pin It
Favorite

Book Review - Hope's Edge 

by Marty Demarest


When Frances Moore Lappe wrote Diet for a Small Planet 30 years ago, she was confronting both an entrenched view of world hunger (there isn't enough food for everyone) and what sounded to her like an ominous solution (mass-produce more). But with the publication of her plain-spoken, heartfelt assessment on the ways in which unchecked consumerism was damaging both the environment and our health, some small changes started taking place.


Now, joining with her daughter Anna, Lapp & eacute; has chosen to revisit the same issues with the goal of looking at how much things have changed -- for better or worse. Like the title suggests, Hope's Edge is neither another dark assessment of the environmental condition nor a self-congratulatory account of improvements.


But this evenhanded approach quickly becomes the book's downfall, as Lapp & eacute; swerves frantically between exasperation and elation. What Diet for a Small Planet had as its driving force was conviction, which made it compelling even for readers who disagreed. Here, while Lapp & eacute; seems as convinced as ever of the need to improve the global food situation, she seems distracted by the myriad ways those improvements are slowly coming about.


Gone are the simple, well-reasoned arguments presented in the first book. In their place we have ambiguous assertions that, while she admires ranchers who raise free-range cattle, she still "can't quite relate," and that despite Starbucks' efforts to incorporate fair-trade coffee, it amounts to no more than a "token." Given her argument that the smallest wrong committed by an enormous corporation can lead to significant problems, it's strange to notice the omission of any speculation about where small improvements might lead.


Hope's Edge also contains a significant number of vegetarian recipes from cooks like Mollie Katzen and Alice Waters. But where Diet for a Small Planet provided information that was hard to find anywhere else at the time, Hope's Edge covers culinary territory that's now available in even the most casual bookstore. Perhaps if the space had been used to present new information and sound new calls to action, Lapp & eacute; could have continued her pioneering work. Unfortunately, what emerges is a book burdened with old ideologies confronting a new world.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Shades of Black Lives
  • Shades of Black Lives

    A Spokane County detective's Facebook post about Black Lives Matter sparks debate among local law enforcement
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Fires Hit Home
  • Fires Hit Home

    Tens of thousands of acres burn around Spokane on Sunday and Monday; plus, DOJ weighs in on concerns over bail system
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


election 2016


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Where School Bonds Go to Die
  • Where School Bonds Go to Die

    Central Valley School District's bond and levy package wouldn't increase property taxes a dime — but don't tell that to Duane Alton
    • Feb 5, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation