Berry (Famous Vegetarians and Their Favorite Recipes) combines short essays on vegetarianism and the world's religions with interviews of vegetarian religious thinkers--all to little effect. If you're looking to this book for the definitive answer as to whether vegetarianism can be directly tied to spiritual enlightenment, then you're out of luck. Despite his best efforts, Berry can't convince various religious experts--ranging from Zen Buddhist Roshi Philip Kapleau to Franciscan monk Ron Pickarski--to link a vegetarian diet directly with spiritual attainment. The most he gets them to say, in some remarkably frank and disarming interviews, is that following a vegetarian lifestyle is generally a matter of personal choice, albeit one that they felt aided their spiritual growth for ethical reasons. While many Eastern religions do subscribe to and suggest a vegetarian diet, Berry never convincingly illuminates any direct correlation between not eating meat and attaining enlightenment. His book promises more that it delivers. It's much like a vegetarian smorgasbord in which the main dishes, the author's essays, lay heavily on the mind, while the condiments, the interviews, sparkle with genuine insight and sustenance. What Berry has in his favor are the honesty and generosity to print interviews with people who often flatly disagree with him. (Sept.)
Young, Richard Alan. Is God a Vegetarian?: Christianity, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights.