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Book and Media Reviews
September 14, 2011

Hunger: The Biology and Politics of Starvation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Nutritional Sciences and Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (

JAMA. 2011;306(10):1146. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1303

During the last few years, there has been an onslaught of books about the world food situation. Most predict deteriorations in food supplies, higher food prices, increasing hunger, and related human effects. Some conclude that the world will be unable to feed future generations, with mass starvation as the likely outcome. Large fluctuations in food prices during the last few years have provided support for such ill-conceived conclusions. Books that predict widespread disaster probably get more attention and sell better than those with a more balanced, evidence-based perspective, but they also spread misinformation and contribute to inappropriate action. Having read many of these books, it was refreshing to read one that does not predict a food apocalypse but rather provides a balanced and evidence-based description of the existing hunger problem and suggests workable solutions without great fanfare.

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