"A major challenge in writing about hunger and other humanitarian crises is
conveying the scale of the problem without losing sight of individual human
suffering. Vernon neatly avoids this problem by taking a sensibly self-aware approach
to his subject, acknowledging both the universality of human hunger and the
strikingly dissimilar way in which different cultures have come to terms with it. [His]
focus on the intersection between cultural and political history allows him to ask
pertinent questions about the emergence of our modern, post-imperial attitudes.
Hunger: A Modern History is a politically engaged history at its most humane, and
Vernon uses his compassion and erudition to drive home a deeply disquieting truth. In
the secular postmodern west, hunger is perhaps the closest we get to guilt."
-- Richard Barnett, Lancet, 15 March 2008
Hunger is a thought-provoking book. Sharply focused and tightly argued. -- - Michael Sargent, Nature
Hunger: A Modern History moves impressively between the British domestic and political, the colonial and the global, without straining the argument or losing touch with the sources. James Vernon's research ranges over vast tracts of material, demonstrating concretely and graphically how discussion about famine originating in nineteenth-century India became central to discussion about nutrition in twentieth-century Britain.
-- Gareth Stedman Jones, Cambridge University
This survey of British attitudes towards hunger is no mere liberal guilt-inducer...The book ends in the 1940s with glances forward to Thatcher, Tebbit, and Blair. Its range is political, sociological, and media-aware: "Tell the bastards!" says a 1930s documentary film-maker. Scholarly and unjudgmental, the book does. -- - Martin Hoyle, Financial Times
Vernon has put together a persuasive and wide-ranging history of hunger. His central tenet that hunger is not a natural catastrophe--it emerges into public view within historical contexts and for precise political reasons--is compelling. -- - Joanna Bourke, The Times