Fat History by Peter N. Stearns
Bodies and Beauty in the Modern West

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The modern struggle against fat cuts deeply and pervasively into American culture. Dieting, weight consciousness, and widespread hostility toward obesity form one of the fundamental themes of modern life.

Fat History explores the meaning of fat in contemporary Western society and illustrates how progressive changes, such as growth in consumer culture, increasing equality for women, and the refocusing of women's sexual and maternal roles have influenced today's obsession with fat.

Brought up-to-date with a new preface and filled with narrative anecdotes, Fat History explores fat's transformation from a symbol of health and well-being to a sign of moral, psychological, and physical disorder.


About Peter N. Stearns

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Peter N. Stearns is Provost and University Professor at George Mason University. Since 1967, he has served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History.á His numerous books include World History in Documents ;á American Behavioral History ;áand Anxious Parents .
Published September 1, 2002 by NYU Press. 294 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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notably, from the 1920s to the 1960s ``weight morality bore disproportionately on women precisely because of their growing independence, or seeming independence, from other standards.'' In France, the other society considered, Stearns does not detect a view of weight loss as a moral crusade or fa...

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In the realm of books on America's obsession with fat, Stearns's new hypothesis is a refreshing counter to the current denunciations of the patriarchy with a broader sociological and historical approa

Apr 28 1997 | Read Full Review of Fat History: Bodies and Beaut...

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By contrast, the French aesthetic approach treats food as a culinary art, to be taken in small amounts and enjoyed for its subtle flavor: ""France had no equivalents of rural Americana's pie-eating contests."" While his argument is interesting, readers may wonder why Stearns does not adequately a...

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