By the late 19th century, Americans rich and poor had come to expect high-quality fresh beef with almost every meal.
Beef production in the US had gone from small-scale, localized operations to a highly centralized industry spanning the country, with cattle bred on ranches in the rural West, slaughtered in Chicago, and consumed in the nation’s rapidly growing cities.
Red Meat Republic tells the remarkable story of the violent conflict over who would reap the benefits of this new industry and who would bear its heavy costs, says a review on the University Press website.
Joshua Specht puts people at the heart of his story — the big cattle ranchers who helped to drive the nation’s westward expansion, the meatpackers who created a radically new kind of industrialized slaughterhouse, and the stockyard workers who were subjected to the shocking and unsanitary conditions described by Upton Sinclair in his novel The Jungle.
Specht brings to life a turbulent era marked by Indian wars, Chicago labor unrest, and food riots in the streets of New York.