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Radical Vegetarianism by Mark Mathew Braunstein

RADICAL VEGETARIANISMa Dialectic of Diet & Ethic

Related PDF downloads

 THE MILKY WAY  Chapter 5 (90K PDF)

Rad Veg was the first book of our generation to espouse veganism, and this is the chapter that set Rad Veg apart from the other lacto-vegetarian books of its time. The book was radical when first published in 1981, but it is not radical now. Now it is just "a classic."


Preface  (100K PDF)

For a free PDF of the whole dang book, please scroll to the very bottom of this webpage, thanks!


Vegetarian Times book review  (800K PDF)

Reviewed in February 1982 by its founding editor Paul Obis, as well as by its associate editor Scott Smith and by its columnist Ted Zagar, the three reviews appeared contiguous as a double-page spread  


Animals' Agenda book review (300K PDF)

Titled "Vegetarian Classic," reviewed in July 1990 by Victoria Moran, an author of many highly regarded books, including Creating a Charmed Life, Lit from Within, The Love-Powered Diet, and Main Street Vegan



Radical Vegetarianism by Mark Mathew Braunstein

 ♦ BOOK REVIEWS - excerpts ♦  


• A remarkably intelligent book.  — The Washington Post, November 1981


• Radical Vegetarianism is a feast of words. ... Delight in or detest its literary embellishments, no one can find Radical Vegetarianism less than unique. ... There are in places brutal honesty, shocking and raw, and in others poignant beauty. Often they coexist in a single sentence. ... If vegetarianism has its cult classic, this is it. — Animals’ Agenda, July/August 1990 (full review above, Free PDF Downloads)


• Radical Vegetarianism is an unusual book both in style and perspective. ... It is food for thought and an exercise in semantics and philosophy. ... Braunstein is a philosopher. He's also a great writer, with a good sense of humor. ... Books such as this are rare in comparison to the large number of vegetarian cookbooks and books on diet and health. ... This guide to higher consciousness is unique in the history of vegetarian literature. ... This is a rare, inimitable book, one to savor and turn to, time and again. … It's the kind of book that will endure. ... Radical Vegetarianism is so well crafted that it could become a classic. — Vegetarian Times, February 1982  (read full review above, within Free PDF Downloads)


• A refreshing and stimulating alternative to the plethora of mundane diet books. — Healthful Living  


• Thick with thought, this literary feast ... is vegetarianism's most eloquent and original voice. — Vegetarian Voice, Fall 1993  


• As a manifesto defending the vegan way of life, Radical Vegetarianism is the first of its kind. — International Society for Animal Rights Report, Sept 1982


• This is one of the best books on the many sided aspects of vegetarianism. It is exceptionally well written and carefully reasoned. — The Trumpeter: Journal of Eco-Philosophy, Winter 1994


• Long before the current crop of food politic experts had formulated their thoughts on the subject, Mark Mathew Braunstein published Radical Vegetarianism. Three decades later, RV endures as the seminal work on ethical vegetarianism, musing on the deep roots of the lifestyle, less for physical reasons than for philosophical ones. Braunstein’s writing style is poetry masquerading as prose ("One way to make ends meet is to make meat end”). … Now fully revised and updated for a new millennium of conscientious omnivores, Braunstein’s words should be required reading. Twentieth century veg pioneer Scott Nearing proposed that if your thinking is one step ahead of the masses, you are perceived a leader; two steps, you’re considered dangerous. Radical Vegetarianism was three steps ahead when first written, and still is. It’s just as meaningful today as it was in 1981, if not more so. – Veg News, December 2011, pages 98-99 


from the Lantern Books catalog: 

Now fully revised and updated, Radical Vegetarianism remains as "dialectical, but also a little diabolical" as when it was first published in 1981. Hailed as "remarkably intelligent" (Washington Post), the book takes on the canned canards, sacred cows, and wooly thinking of carnivores and vegetarians alike, and proposes a vegetarianism that transcends the stereotypes of potlucks and Birkenstocks to one that embraces contradiction and candor, and a raw truth that bucks conventional wisdom. Or, as Braunstein says (channeling the Ancients), “Gnaw Thyself.” 


“Vegetarians are not a better sort of people, just a better sort of carnivore,” writes Braunstein, “and carnivores are just a better sort of cannibal.” Erudite and polemical, idiosyncratic and passionate, Radical Vegetarianism is, as the author states, "not a voice of sanity amid so much madness, for the difference is moot and easy to refute, but a voice of the living amid the silence of the dead." 


Part One: DIET


• 1 - Nutrition in the Light of Vegetarianism

Why not to eat flesh — The body has two healths: the physical and the spiritual. Mere nutrition fails which tends only to the former. Not only is physical health possible through vegetarianism, spiritual health actually demands such a diet.



• 2 - Ashes to Ashes, Life to Life

Why not to eat flesh, and why to eat fruit — We grow on fruits; fruits grow on trees; trees grow on us. What comes out depends on what goes in. Everything gotten must be given back.



• 3 - Letter to a Young Vegetarian

What to eat, and how to eat it — The simplest approach to nutrition is the best. The raw facts of a nourishing vegetarian diet are as simple as they are sensible, as delicious as they are nutritious.



• 4 - Traveling Fast

What not to eat, and how not to eat it — Away from home, maintaining a healthful diet may prove difficult. At such times it may be better not to eat at all. At the right time and place, the silence between the sounds makes the music.



 5 - The Milky Way

Why not to drink milk — Lacto-vegetarianism is only a modified carnivorism. Complete vegetarians, also called vegans, abstain not just from animal flesh but from all animal products. What comes from an animal is animal.


Part Two: ETHIC


 6 - Animals and Infidels

Why animals have a right to live — The religions of the West have turned their backs on animals, so we must turn to either the philosophies of the West or the religions of the East. Yet all we really need do is turn to the animals.


• 7 - Carnivoral Death and Karmic Debt

Why whoever lets animals live will live longer — The less suffering we cause to others, the less we ourselves will suffer. Eater and eaten, killer and killed, are one.


8 - The Illogic of the Ecologic

How to kill less by eating fruits and eating raw — The less we kill, the more that humans and animals have to eat. The human population can grow so long as its proportion of vegetarians increases. Yet such an alternative to world catastrophe may be only a postponement.


• 9 - The Problem of Being a Flesh Eater

How animals have been denied the right to live — Humans have persisted in carnivorism partially because they fail to acknowledge that eating flesh means killing animals. Our ignorance causes their deaths.


• 10 - Apologetic Addendum

Why humans also have rights, and how one of those rights just may be to eat animals — We do not know all the answers; we do not even know all the questions. The butcher is no less a human being than the baker or the candlestick-maker.


 Posthumous Postscript

"Animals, My Brethren" by Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz

 ♦ To order  ♦ 

eBook & used Paperback or both

  • Amazon USA - 2010 Revised edition

  • Amazon USA - 1981 First edition



Book Depository (free shipping worldwide)

Amazon (Germany)

Amazon (Canada)

Amazon (Great Britain)  



other citations:

World Catalog

→ to locate the holdings of public, school, and college libraries near you


Open Library

→ excerpts, bibliographical citations, and links to online booksellers


Free! No free lunch, just a free PDF of the book

  • First published 1981 & republished by Lantern Books in 2010, after 38 years (a lifetime!) in print, the book went out of print in 2020.

  • Used print copies are available from the above online booksellers. 

  • New print copies can be bartered directly from the author.

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  • After my "sales talk," HERE is where you can download the 2MB free PDF.

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