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February 8, 2011 / Leslie

Review: How The Government Got In Your Backyard

How The Government Got In Your BackyardHow The Government Got In Your Backyard

Superweeds, Frankenfoods, Lawn Wars, and the (Nonpartisan) Truth About Environmental Policies

by Jeff Gillman and Eric Heberlig

Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Timber Press
Publish Date: February 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover | 256 pages

There is no escaping government control. At times it seems as if the government has stepped into all aspects of our lives. Environmental issues have become a hot topic on how much or how little the government should be involved.

The shear number of rules and regulations plus propaganda issuing from both the left and the right is enough to confuse most people. Public opinion has become polarized on environmental issues with contradicting information coming from each side. How The Government Got In Your Backyard sifts through the politics to get to the facts about these issues. It is a book without a political agenda. If you are seeking information from both points of view, you have come to the right place.

The authors, Jeff Gillman, an associate professor of horticultural science, and Eric Heberlig, an associate professor of political science have thoroughly researched a multitude of important issues facing our environment today. Is organic food safer? Is it healthier? What about pesticides? Are they dangerous or is there a safe amount? How about fertilizer? Is it helping our farmers or polluting our water? Is genetic engineering safe? 60% of US foods have some type of genetic engineering and most people are unaware. They also delve into plant patents, local restrictions on plants and the hot button topic of global warming, is it man-made or natural.

Arguments for each position, liberal and conservative, have been researched and presented in separate chapters. Opposing positions are presented as government ‘Policy Options’ with a discussion for more or less regulation followed by a summary for ‘The Bottom Line’. The authors are not going to give you answers, they are not going to tell you what to do, what is right or what is wrong. Instead they will give you information so that you can come to your own informed opinion.

As a gardener I found the chapters on plant engineering, plant patents and invasive plants very informative. I had no idea that 99% of US crops are not native to America or that Dandelion and Crabgrass were imported as ‘crops’. They escaped cultivation to become the weeds they are today, as are Kudzu, Thistle and Buckthorn.

This book is timely, relevant and well researched. It reads more like a text book than a narrative and individual chapters can be read in any order. I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the environment.
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.
CymLowellI participate in Book Review Party Wednesday. Click the link to read more great reviews.


Leave a Comment
  1. Rebecca Rasmussen / Feb 8 2011 3:04 pm

    I am very excited about this book — I think I will get it and try to use part of it for my food and culture class.


  2. Suko / Feb 8 2011 7:31 pm

    This does sound informative and interesting. Excellent review!


  3. Beth S. / Feb 10 2011 7:59 am

    Wow. I’m definitely going to pick this book up. Sounds like quite the informative read!


  4. TheBookGirl / Feb 10 2011 9:32 am

    I agree that this sounds like it has alot of great, interesting information…From your review, it also sounds like this is one that you can read a chapter or two at a time…I like to have a book like that, that I can pick up when I am reading a novel, as I cannot really read two novels at one time.
    Thanks for the great review 🙂



  1. Book Blog Hop ~ February 11 – 14th « Under My Apple Tree

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