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Meat Eater

Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter
Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
4.9 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.13

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Publisher's Summary

“Revelatory.... With every chapter, you get a history lesson, a hunting lesson, a nature lesson and a cooking lesson.... Meat Eater offers an overabundance to savor.” (The New York Times Book Review)

Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel at eight and his first deer at 13. He chose the colleges he went to by their proximity to good hunting ground, and he experimented with living solely off wild meat. As an adult, he feeds his family from the food he hunts. 

Meat Eater chronicles Rinella’s lifelong relationship with nature and hunting through the lens of 10 hunts, beginning when he was an aspiring mountain man at age 10 and ending as a 37-year-old Brooklyn father who hunts in the remotest corners of North America. He tells of having a struggling career as a fur trapper just as fur prices were falling; of a dalliance with catch-and-release steelhead fishing; of canoeing in the Missouri Breaks in search of mule deer just as the Missouri River was freezing up one November; and of hunting the elusive Dall sheep in the glaciated mountains of Alaska. 

Through each story, Rinella grapples with themes such as the role of the hunter in shaping America, the vanishing frontier, the ethics of killing, the allure of hunting trophies, the responsibilities that human predators have to their prey, and the disappearance of the hunter himself as Americans lose their connection with the way their food finds its way to their tables. Hunting, he argues, is intimately connected with our humanity; assuming responsibility for acquiring the meat that we eat, rather than entrusting it to proxy executioners, processors, packagers, and distributors, is one of the most respectful and exhilarating things a meat eater can do. 

A thrilling storyteller with boundless interesting facts and historical information about the land, the natural world, and the history of hunting, Rinella also includes after each chapter a section of “Tasting Notes” that draws from his 30-plus years of eating and cooking wild game, both at home and over a campfire. In Meat Eater, he paints a loving portrait of a way of life that is part of who we are as humans and as Americans. 

“Full of empathy and intelligence.... In some sections of the book, the author’s prose is so engrossing, so riveting, that it matches, punch for punch, the best sports writing.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Rinella’s writing is unerringly smart, direct, and sharply detailed.” (The Boston Globe

“A unique and valuable alternate view of where our food comes from.” (Anthony Bourdain)

©2012 Steven Rinella (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Truth be told, I have lived a life plenty comfortable with my disdain toward hunters and hunting. And then along comes Steven Rinella and his revelatory memoir Meat Eater to ruin everything. Unless you count the eternal pursuit of the unmetered parking space, I am not a hunter. I am, however, on a constant quest for good writing. Meat Eater begins with a promise - 'This book has a hell of a lot going for it, simply because it’s a hunting story' - and then delivers ceaselessly, like a Domino’s guy with O.C.D. This is survival of the most literate. Graphic, sure, but less so than an episode of CSI, and with more believable emoting...this - genuine passion, humbly conveyed - is when nonfiction slaughters fiction and hangs it over its mantel. The text is relentlessly vivid and clear...the commitment, effort and ardor are unflinching. With every chapter, you get a history lesson, a hunting lesson, a nature lesson and a cooking lesson, and most of the chapters end with 'tasting notes' on various game.... Readers will never ask themselves, 'What is he talking about?' ...[A]gain and again, his descriptive powers trump gruesomeness…. Meat Eater offers an overabundance to savor.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Relentlessly descriptive and endlessly evocative ‘tasting guides’ at the close of each chapter help armchair hunters get a sense of what it might be like digging into their own heaping plate of camp meat, deer hearts or sun-dried jerky...the writing is steadfastly satisfying and clear. The author wisely allows philosophical questions pertaining to the validity of hunting and the efficacy of state-enforced regulations to simmer in the background, and he effectively shows nature in all its glory.... An insider’s look at hunting that devotees and nonparticipants alike should find fascinating.” (Kirkus)

“On one level, [Rinella has] penned an entertaining collection of the sort of anecdotes that, if you had the good luck to meet him at a Brooklyn hipster’s cocktail party, would be conversational gold. Though animals figure almost as prominently in his narrative as people, Rinella is an astute observer, with an eye for delightfully telling details.... But in Meat Eater, Rinella does more than tell stories well and share exotic cooking tips. He writes from the standpoint of a married writer and father living in one of the world’s more densely populated metropolises. His book sets up an implicit contrast between city and wilderness, semi-settled midlife and a more footloose young manhood.” (Paste)

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What listeners say about Meat Eater

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The hunter life

Absolutely great read enjoy it and highly recommend to any hunter new or old

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fantastic listen

was a easy book to listen too highly recommend, very interesting story an incite into his hunting journey

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  • Nathan
  • 09-06-2020

Why can’t Steve read his own books?

I’m completely bummed. I love every work Steve has done and was looking forward to this book. Pre ordered with my one credit for this month. But they got some fucking tranquilized math professor to read it, which means I can’t stand to listen. Seriously, this guy sounds like a suburban yoga instructor on heroine. Super bummed because it’s putting me right to sleep. Just let somebody who gives a shit about the book read it...like maybe the author.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Omid Boostani
  • 09-06-2020

Steve you should have self narrated

Would have been ten times better hearing you tell your story yourself. Other than that story was great keep doing what you do!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jerry Quick
  • 03-07-2020

Good book

I Wished Steven would have narrated himself as he had done in his previous book

5 people found this helpful

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  • n8smamma
  • 25-08-2020

Intellectual Look At Hunting

This was a well written thought and emotion provoking book on the struggle/success of hunters in our current society. I enjoyed it immensely. I just wish Steve had read it himself.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Josh Lees
  • 09-08-2020

Great book

Wish Steven Rinella would have read it! It would have been great to listen to it from the author

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jeremy and Lauren
  • 18-07-2020

Well worth the wait

I have been waiting for this book to be on here for quite some time. It was well worth it. If you like his show, you'll love this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-07-2020

Excellent book by a great outdoor writer!

This is an excellent book talking about a lot of stories of Steven Rinella’s youth that many outdoorsman can relate to. The only problem is I don’t think the reader has ever hunted or been outdoors before. This book needs to be redone and read by Steven Rinella himself.

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  • I.Barlow
  • 13-06-2020

Mostly good

The stories were well written and entertaining. A bit disappointed that Steve Rinella didn’t narrate the book himself. A few mispronunciations, like ‘javelina’, make it seem like a low budget production.

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  • Dan Smith
  • 19-10-2020

Excellent

A really nice telling of a personal story that so many hunters can relate to

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  • Lee Hoy
  • 19-10-2020

MeatEater Fan

I really enjoyed the book but find I like the podcast more. A good short listen! Narrator can’t pronounce some words accurately.

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  • Conall Hart
  • 22-10-2020

Great book

I only wish it was read by Steven. His narration of America Buffalo was perfect.

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  • Reimo Tugi
  • 20-10-2020

I would've preferred Steven Rinella as narrator

Although the narrator did a decent job, the book would've been more captivating and inspiring with Steven Rinella himself reading it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-08-2020

Outstanding

Steven articulates the act of hunting in an almost poetic way. He describes what it feels like to take an animals life for food in such an accurate manner that I became emotional at certain points. He puts it all on the table and doesnt hide his flaws and mistakes. After listening to his Buffalo audiobook I was a bit disappointed to learn that it wasnt Steven narating this one but Mr Kafer does an equally amazing job at storytelling to the point that I believed these were his experiences. Brilliant stuff.

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  • jack murphy
  • 19-07-2020

Opened my mind

This book along with his podcast appearances have completely changed my out look on hunting. Would recommend to anyone.