About James McWilliams
“[W]ho the hell ever heard of James McWilliams? Chances are if he’d done anything worth knowing about we’d know about it.”
I’m an historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. My books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly (Little, Brown) and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press). My writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer (Texas’s only liberal magazine!), where I’ve been a contributing writer since 2002. I’m a contributor to Freakonomics.com.
My current projects include two books. One, tentatively titled A Graceful Distance: The Cultural Origins of Factory Farming in the United States (Cornell University Press), explores the transformation of the human-farm animal relationship that provided the cultural and psychological foundation for large-scale animal agriculture in the nineteenth century. The second, tentatively titled Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals (St. Martin’s), investigates the hidden ethical, environmental, and economic problems with small scale animal agriculture today, insisting that a plant-based diet is the most effective answer to the problems of industrial animal agriculture.
In the Fall of 2013 University of Texas Press will be publishing a short book I recently finished on the history of the pecan tree. It’s called America’s Native Nut: A Brief History of the Pecan Tree. I can usually be found at Texas State University (firstname.lastname@example.org), where I’m employed as a professor. Oh, and I prefer reading novels to anything else (see Fumarole).
NOTE: Between September 2013 and September 2014 I hope to visit between 40-50 colleges and universities. These will be fully funded and promoted visits. All a potential sponsor need do is find space and a time for me to talk. My talk is called “Veganism for Omnivores.” If you or anyone you know might be interested in scheduling a talk, please e-mail me at email@example.com.