An Unnatural History

Book - 2005
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Every day, we wake up hungry. Every day, we break our fast. Hunger explores the range of this primal experience. Sharman Apt Russell, the highly acclaimed author of Anatomy of a Rose and An Obsession with Butterflies , here takes us on a tour of hunger, from eighteen hours without food to thirty-six hours to seven days and beyond. What Russell finds-both in our bodies and in cultures around the world-is extraordinary. It is a biological process that transcends nature to shape the very of fabric of societies. In a fascinating survey of centuries of thought on hunger's unique power, she discovers an ability to adapt to it that is nothing short of miraculous. From the fasting saints of the early Christian church to activists like Mahatma Gandhi, generations have used hunger to make spiritual and political statements. Russell highlights these remarkable cases where hunger can inspire and even heal, but she also addresses the devastating impact of starvation on cultures around the world today. Written with consummate skill, a compassionate heart, and stocked with facts, figures, and fascinating lore, Hunger is an inspiring window on history and the human spirit.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2005
ISBN: 9780465071630
Characteristics: x, 262 p. ; 22 cm


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Feb 17, 2015

Engagingly and briskly moving prose; the first five chapters are especially good.
No index, but has a longish bibliographical essay.

hcallahan Jul 12, 2012

I was impressed by how gracefully this author integrated ideas about famine, starvation as punishment or oppression, starvation as political protest, starvation as mental illness, starvation as a religious practice, and starvation as scientific experimentation. Haunting rather than an easy read, given the subject matter. Still, because its well written and researched I recommend it.

Jun 14, 2011

I've only started reading this book because of a curiousity with people's relationships with food. The rising cost of food is making me think about the age old question of having and having not; what this means for daily sustenance, for the ability to achieve and maintain a quality of life considering food is the sustenance needed to get on and do other things. ... Going to write more once I've finished.

Dec 09, 2010

Hunger: An Unnatural History is an exhaustive study of what hunger represents. Especially moving are author Sharman Russell's personal struggles with food. Throughout Russell attempts to find the meaning behind food as an American with the privileges and contradictions of knowing and witnessing hunger. I recommend this book for people who want to read stories about eating, starving and everything in-between from a poetic voice who references hunger throughout history and around the world.


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