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The History Of The Humble Pig

Pigs are a beloved part of North Carolina culture and vital to the state’s economy, but internationally their reputation is more divisive.

In the new book “Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig” (Basic Books/2015) historian Mark Essig argues that we have loved and hated pigs for as long as they’ve lived among us. Essig examines pig biology and traces 10,000 years of human culture to explore how the clever, versatile animal ended up with such a complex reputation. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Essig about his years of research into the beast that he calls the ‘humble pig.’

Note: This is a rebroadcast. This program originally aired January 6, 2016.

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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