Hunger by Sharman Apt Russell
An Unnatural History

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Sharman Apt Russell

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Sharman Apt Russell is the author of several books, including Hunger and Songs of the Fluteplayer, which won the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award. She has written for publications including Discover and Nature Conservancy, and currently contributes to OnEarth, the magazine for the National Resource Defense Council. Russell teaches creative writing at Western New Mexico University and at Antioch University in Los Angeles, California. She lives in Silver City, New Mexico.
 
Published September 5, 2006 by Basic Books. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Cooking. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hunger

Kirkus Reviews

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An engrossing account of the myriad aspects of hunger, from its psychological and physical effects on the body to the spiritual, therapeutic and political motivations for fasting.

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The New York Times

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In her history of hunger, Sharman Apt Russell explains how evolution is responsible for our urge to eat all we can.

Sep 18 2005 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

The Guardian

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Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell Basic Books £14.99, pp288 'Hunger is a country we enter every day, like a commuter across a friendly border,' begins Sharman Apt Russell's elegantly written mixture of history, science and memoir.

Feb 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

The Guardian

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Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell 272pp, Basic Books, £14.99 When David Blaine fasted for 44 days in London in 2003 he was pelted with rotten eggs by people who found the stunt distasteful.

Jan 28 2006 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

Publishers Weekly

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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."

May 23 2005 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

BC Books

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Physical hunger is too good a metaphor for spiritual hunger, and to fast is to proclaim your hunger for what is not physical — for the divine.

Nov 23 2005 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

BC Books

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She begins with the religious fasts, those “hungry maidens” who fasted for holiness, for God, in the Middle Ages.

Apr 10 2006 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

Spirituality & Practice

In this new volume, Russell takes on a much more serious and arcane subject: hunger and its many manifestations, from "miracle maids" to fasting, hunger artists, starvation of people around the world, hunger strikes, anorexia nervosa, and the protocols of famine.

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io9

We've seen snippets of what's to come in the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, but we haven't gotten a good look at the big bad obstacle course — until now.

Jan 30 2013 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

Project MUSE

But in applying them to South Africa, she says that 'African' refers to 'South Africa's indigenous Bantu-speaking inhabitants.' As the book proceeds, too often her analysis fails to distinguish the situation of peoples like the Khoe-San, who as small marginalized peoples are struggling to retain...

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News Review.

The first sentence of her 1989 study of true-crime writing, The Journalist and The Murderer, is a famous stunner: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.” Her unwillingness to hold back her discom...

Jun 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Hunger: An Unnatural History

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