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The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control [Kindle Edition]

Emma Woolf
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Losing weight has become the modern woman’s holy grail… everything will be better when we’re thin.

We’re obsessed with weight, we dislike our bodies, we worry about the food we eat, we feel guilty, we diet… Too many of us are locked into a war with our own bodies which we’ll never win, and which will never make us happy.

'The Ministry of Thin' takes a controversial, unflinching look at how the modern obsession with weight loss, youth, beauty and perfection got out of control. Emma Woolf, author of 'An Apple a Day', explores how we might all be able to stop hating and start liking our own bodies again. And she dares to ask: if losing weight is the answer, what is the question?

Product Description


'A brilliant and brutal look at the world of thin, by a writer who knows too well the damaging effects of such a persuasive club. Think you are immune to their rhetoric? Then think again.' (Dr Christian Jessen)

'Thoughtfully written and incisive, Emma Woolf looks at the darker side of our obsession with dieting...' (Ian Marber)

'She talks much sense having been through 10 years of anorexia.' (The Bookseller)

'A very honest, intelligent reflection on the causes and effects of society's obsession with thin.' (Dr Linda Papadopoulos)

'The Ministry of Thin is frank, funny, and fascinating - I wanted to shout "hear, hear" at the end of almost every sentence.' (Anne H. Putnam, author of Navel Gazing: One Woman's Quest for a Size Normal) --.

About the Author

Emma Woolf is the great-niece of Virginia Woolf. After studying English at Oxford University she worked in publishing, before becoming a full-time writer. She is a columnist for The Times and also writes for The Independent, The Mail on Sunday, Harper's Bazaar, Red, Grazia and Psychologies. She was a co-presenter on Channel 4's Supersize vs Superskinny; other media appearances include Newsnight, Woman's Hour and Radio 4's Four Thought. Emma's first book, An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Beat Award for Recovery Inspiration. She was also nominated for Mind's Journalist of the Year. She lives in London. You can follow Emma on Twitter: @ejwoolf. Review of The Ministry of Thin in the Observer: "Woolf sets her stall out with brio." "Woolf's skill in is in adding intellectual and emotional ballast to the debates that interest her. In its best moments, this book emerges as a hypnotist's finger-click signalling women to wake up."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 547 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd (19 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,240 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Emma Woolf is a writer, columnist and award-winning journalist. Born and brought up in London, she studied English at Oxford University. She worked in Psychology publishing before going freelance and writes for The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Grazia, Red, Psychologies, Top Sante and The Sun among others.

Internationally, she writes for Vanity Fair in Italy, Harper's Bazaar and The New Daily in Australia, Newsweek, Vice and The Daily Beast in the US, and Vogue Korea.

Media appearances include Newsnight, Woman's Hour, World at One, PM Programme and Radio Five Live. Emma is a regular reviewer on Radio 4's Saturday Review and BBC London's Review the Day. She's also co-presenter on Channel 4's Supersize vs Superskinny.

Emma is the great-niece of Virginia Woolf.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another Woolf blockbuster 22 May 2013
I've been waiting months for this book - ever since finishing Emma Woolf's heart-breaking memoir An Apple a Day - and I loved it. She raises so many important issues: women, weight, beauty, sex, ageing, how we treat ourselves, why we're locked into this war with our bodies, and how we can get free... I'd recommend this book to anyone (male or female) who has ever wanted to lose weight, or look different, or be happier, sexier, more successful or just feels uncomfortable in their own skin and wants to be someone else. I read her weekly columns in The Times - and this book is Woolf's usual mix of intelligence, truth and wry humour. Can't wait for the audio-book too, for when I'm at the gym. Five stars - it's a yes from me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, honest and a definite must read! 26 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book explores every single pressure that women are faced with, in the 21st century, especially the unhealthy desire to be thin. It analyses our obsessions with remaining young, thin and beautiful but ultimately asking who actually defines those attributes? and what good are they unless we are happy? Reading this simply puts your OWN life into perspective and allows you to remember that personal happiness and health are far more important than how you look. I definitely recommend this book. Emma is a master of words - words that will stay with you for a very long time after turning the final page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Sorrel
Emma Woolf is incredibly articulate and doesn't abandon a single train of thought. She follows them through with research, insight and assesses how it all fits into society and ultimately affects women in relation to food, fat, diets, detoxing, fitness, fashion, beauty, sex, surgery, age, madness and success.

When I first became vegan I came across a lot of information about "mucus". I became vegan for ethical reasons and haven't ever implemented any kind of detox but I do have a book about an Alkaline Diet and how we need to remove the mucus from our bodies (which is formed by certain foods) as they cause health problems including disease. Emma addresses this issue in one of the chapters and interestingly discusses how they again go back to the point of "purity and control" which can relate to eating disorders, detoxing and fad diets. I thought this was absolutely fascinating and I had not thought about this obsession with detoxing as a form of gaining some perceived form of purity.

My favourite chapter is the Ministry of Surgery:

"No female body part escapes the scrutiny of the men in white coats, the self-hatred and the surgical correction. The language of disgust would be funny if it wasn't so depressing..."

I recently read The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir and I'm glad I found this book because it is the perfect modern day critique of the out-of-control hate campaign that we are waging on our own bodies with the help of society, media and of course businesses looking for a profit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By 1zzy
A strong examination of the unsaid yet secretly known commandments of what it means to be a woman in modern day society.
I read 'Ministry of Thin' after devouring Emma Woolf's an 'Apple a day' (beautiful book, any recovering anorexic should grab a copy. I personally find most autobiographies pretty dull and I'm not a fan of self talk, cognitive therapy writing about my own eating disorder. Most of those books just rattle on about dolphins most of the time. But Woolf's 'Apple' focuses on herself and anorexia generally and most people recovering will see themselves in Emma and will feel really consoled. It made me very determined to get a move on with my recovery, although easier said than done ...).
I preferred 'Apple a day' but the 'Ministry of Thin' is written with wit and with good judgement. A very good book for feminists or those who likewise roll their eyes when they see a teenage girl wearing so much foundation she looks like a carrot. I found the chapters on food, weight and madness very interesting, the one of cosmetics terrifying (botox makes me squeamish) and after reading the section on age I felt like rallying the feminists and ended up having a shouting-match debate with my dad on how hard women have it. His final response was that women have it hard but men have it harder as they have to deal with women as well... good comeback. I am really enjoying Woolf's writing and hope to see more of it emerging over the years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She's On Your Side! 27 May 2013
By Emmsy
I so enjoyed this down-to-earth, incisive, and above all encouraging look at how women view their own bodies against the roar of voices telling them they need to be perfect.

There's nothing judgemental here, only a friend reaching out to pat you on the back. I feel so much better for reading it. Thank you, Emma Woolf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfectly Honest Look at The World of Thin 20 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Ministry of Thin is a book which takes an honest and frank approach to looking into society's growing obsession with perfection. Woolf explores the sources of this so called need to be perfect in every aspect of life and the challenges that this brings with it. Both the implications a perfection obsession has on health and the influence it will have on increasingly younger children as they are exposed to this nation obsessed. I definitely recommend reading The Ministry of Thin to put you back in touch with loving yourself. Get Reading!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener
This really made me think about the pressure we have and the pressure we put on ourselves, despite all our modern luxuries afforded after years of inequality we still struggle with... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amy Frankland
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good and Thought Provoking Read.
A good book by Emma Woolf.

At times when I was reading it I did feel like it was somehow repetitive but that could be as I read An Apple a Day previously. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Helen Bown
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book looking at the way that disordered eating might develop...
As I had expected, having read Emma Woolf's previous offerings, this is really thought provoking and looks at the evidence base for the way that people might develop disordered... Read more
Published 8 months ago by mimday
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
I didn't expect this book to change my way of thinking-but it did. It shows how much we're influence by others in our perception of beauty. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible and inspiring book!
This book is so well written and highlights some seriously important issues facing both men and women today. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Freya
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Sad
I'm sorry that the author has body image problems, but her insistence that there is literally no one who doesn't have them is false and is a ridiculous assertion of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ignis
4.0 out of 5 stars An Good Modern Day View of the Obsession in the Media Modern Day...
I would say as an Young Women in today's World if You want too be an mother You have to always be there know where Your Child is be an successful Career Women be an good kind... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Alice Dobie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - sensational
A huge well done to Emma Woolf for tackling this subject. I urge everyone to read it. It made me really think about things and I really admire Emma and her work. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Miranda B
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Ok'
I enjoyed reading 'An Apple a Day', so I decided to purchase the kindle version of 'Ministry of Thin'. Read more
Published 18 months ago by CJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab, if anything too short!
Just kept finding myself saying yes that me that is how I feel / think!!
Emma is very insightful and also has a very apt way of verbalising thing which are often soooo hard to... Read more
Published 19 months ago by benz2303
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