Cultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism
by Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz, Editor
September 2010, 290pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37556-9
$103, £80, 90€, A142
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37557-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Americans consume nearly three quarters of a pound of meat per day, the highest consumption rate in the world. U.S. livestock industries are responsible for an estimated 55 percent of erosion and sediment, 37 percent of pesticide use, 50 percent of antibiotic use, and about 33 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus release into freshwater resources. Food for thought, indeed.

Intended for students, general readers, vegetarians, and vegans, as well as those interested in animal welfare and liberation, this A–Z encyclopedia explores the historical and cultural significance of vegetarianism in the United States and beyond.

Vegetarianism in the United States did not start in the 1960s—it has a much longer, complex history going back to the early 1800s. Cultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism examines that history through the lens of culture, focusing on what vegetarianism has had to say to and about Americans.

This A–Z encyclopedia brings together the work of a number of scholars from diverse fields, including history, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, nutrition, American studies, religious studies, women’s and gender history, and the history of medicine. Approximately 100 essay entries cover cultural and historical aspects of vegetarianism, primarily but not exclusively in relation to the United States, shedding light on the practice’s roots in ancient cultures and challenging popular myths and misconceptions related to both vegetarianism and veganism. With discussions on everything from activist movements to cookbooks, the encyclopedia offers a unique, wide-ranging exploration that will appeal to students, practitioners, and anyone else who wants to know more.


  • A–Z entries on cultural and historical aspects of vegetarianism in the United States and beyond
  • Brief sidebars with excerpts from primary documents, quotations, and more
  • A chronology of vegetarianism in the United States, including relevant international developments
  • Photographs of famous vegetarians
  • A selected bibliography of relevant books, scholarly articles, and websites
Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz is an independent historian whose research focuses on the social and cultural significance of diet, health, and food practices. She is completing a book on vegetarianism in the United States from 1817 to 1918.


"A good introduction to vegetarianism, appropriate for school and public library collections."—Booklist, January 1, 2011

"This modest, single-volume encyclopedia is the first to be published regarding vegetarianism and culture. . . . unique in terms of subject matter . . . touches on an area of burgeoning interest . . ."—Library Journal, January 1, 2011

"Useful one-volume encyclopedia. . . . A very good index and bibliography complement the text. . . . Recommended."—Choice, March 23, 2011
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