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“Splendid book…. A witty history of western civilisation … written in an understated and often amusing way.” —Guardian (full review)

“[An] entertaining study … a broad, well-researched book.” —Economist (full review)

“Essig’s account is fascinating, full of erudition and nuance. He traces societal changes from the pharaohs to Walmart, using the pig. Equally, he uses history to enlarge our understanding of the domestic pig.” —New Scientist (full review)

“Mark Essig’s savory history will provide you with hundreds of facts and anecdotes about the remarkable pig, so you’ll impress your friends and relatives around the fire pit. Essig—who lives in Asheville—loves his pigs; he just loves them a little bit more with a nice vinegar.” —Garden & Gun

“[A] marvellous history.” —The Times of London

“Splendid…. Essig surveys the 10,000 year partnership of man and pig, a tumultuous affair full of accusation, fire and litigation.… A pleasure to read.” —Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Pages sizzle like bacon, and it’s tough to set aside.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Pigs are omnivorous. And so is Mark Essig. From a Roman recipe for salt curing and cold smoking hams that Cato favored, to the ignoble efforts of American industrial farmers who have shown neither their pigs nor their customers respect, he has sifted the archival record to write a smart and thoroughly engaging social history of the curious entwinings of pig and man.” —John T. Edge, series editor, Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place

“A thoughtful book about the fascinating relationship between pigs and people, from Leviticus to Charlotte’s Web. I learned something new on every page: Essig has a knack for delivering reams of information with lightness and wit, even as he makes an eloquent plea for a reformed pork industry, one where the bacon we eat comes from ‘a pig that lived like a pig.’ Whether you eat pork or not, Lesser Beasts is a gripping meditation on the plight of pigs.” —Bee Wilson, author of Consider the Fork

“Mark Essig tells a fine tale of the unsung exploits of the lowly pig, from the age of the pyramids and the wars of the conquistadors to the awful abattoirs and trendy restaurants of today. With clear prose and careful research, he redeems an animal that has played a seminal role in human history while enduring near universal disdain. This fascinating book provides a marvelous antidote to our unexamined views on the pig.” —Andrew Lawler, author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization

“Lesser Beasts is a delightful romp through porcine history from the Neolithic era to the present. Mark Essig offers surprising answers to the question of why humans have had such a love-hate affair with the humble pig, and unveils many other unexpected insights. Well written and well researched, Lesser Beasts is a must for historians, pork lovers, and anyone who just loves a good read.” —Andrew F. Smith, editor-in chief, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America