Synopses & Reviews
Every day, we wake up hungry. Every day, we break our fast. Hunger is both a natural and an unnatural human condition. In Hunger, Sharman Apt Russell explores the range of this primal experience. Step by step, Russell takes us through the physiology of hunger, from eighteen hours without food to thirty-six hours to three days to seven days to thirty days. In quiet, elegant prose, she asks a question as big as history and as everyday as skipping lunch: How does hunger work?
"Russell's playful survey of the effects of hunger, which moves inexorably toward a wider moral meditation on starvation, suggests, 'Hunger is a country we enter every day, like a commuter across a friendly border.' Observing that 'not eating seems to be innately religious,' Russell (Anatomy of a Rose) explores the biochemical and cultural dimensions of hunger, from the stunts of 'hunger artists' to the practices of fasting ascetics and so-called 'miracle maids' (virginal women who appeared not to require food), touching on her own abortive experience of fasting. Turning to the history of political protest, Russell describes the force-feeding of British suffragettes and the strategic fasts of Mahatma Gandhi. She captures the limits of human cruelty and frailty in detailing the medical studies of starvation conducted in the Warsaw Ghetto; famine and cannibalism in the Ukraine and China; and the findings of the
'Minnesota Experiment,' which studied how semistarvation influences behavior. Addressing the stark facts of current world hunger, Russell reports on the medical challenges of reintroducing food to the chronically malnourished, on the iconic image of the starving child and on the efforts of humanitarian agencies to end world hunger. With its expert blend of scientific reportage, world history and moral commentary, Russell's work is informative and haunting. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright © Reed Business Information)
"A fascinating, multilayered analysis....Her discussion of the biological aspects [of hunger] is concise, interesting, and free from scientific jargon." School Library Journal
"Russell's readable account is a provocative blend of science and anthropology, although her gut-wrenching tales of starvation are best read on an empty stomach." Library Journal
"hile the subject is often somber, the presentation is one of verve and style-and the end-of-book notes provide a useful guide for readers whose interest has been piqued." Kirkus Reviews
"As Russell's extraordinarily well-crafted, far-reaching, and heart-wrenching investigation joins ranks with the revelations of global health experts...we can only hope that our hunger for knowledge and justice will lead to international efforts to eliminate this unnecessary scourge." Booklist (Starred Review)
Hunger and how it works is explored in this thought-provoking, kaleidoscopic blend of science, anthropology and personal reflection. Filled with facts, figures and fascinating lore.
Hunger is both a natural and an unnatural human condition. Sharman Apt Russell explores the range of this primal experience
About the Author
Sharman Apt Russell is the author of An Obsession with Butterflies, Anatomy of a Rose, When the Land Was Young, Kill the Cowboy, and Songs of the Fluteplayer,
winner of the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award. She teaches
writing at Western New Mexico University and at Antioch University in
Los Angeles, California. She lives in Silver City, New Mexico.