Mark Essig’s Lesser Beasts: A Snout to Tail History of the Humble Pig is an ambitious, free-ranging book. It draws not only on history, but also on anthropology, folklore, paleontology, archeology, sociology, contemporary food studies, and probably a dozen other disciplines to weave a compelling narrative that, while centered on the pig, explores less tangible, heavier stuff such as faith, taste, ethics, and status.
Essig, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University, chose to do something few professional historians do: write a book that’s both scholarly and accessible. Even more improbably, he pulled it off. Click here to read an interview with Essig.