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

Emma Woolf
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 May 2013
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?

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The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control + An Apple a Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery from Anorexia + Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain
Price For All Three: £18.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (14 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849534128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849534123
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and brought up in London, Emma Woolf studied English at Oxford University. She worked in Psychology publishing for ten years before becoming a freelance journalist and writer, contributing to The Independent, The Times, The Mail on Sunday, Harper's Bazaar, Grazia, Red and Psychologies. Emma's weekly 'An Apple a Day' column in The Times is one of the newspaper's most popular features, with thousands of followers on-line. Emma has made numerous media appearances to discuss body image and eating disorders - most recently on Channel 5 News, Radio 4 Woman's Hour and LBC Book Club - and also consults for BEAT, the National Eating Disorders Association. Emma is the great-niece of Virginia Woolf.

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)

'Woolf sets her stall out with brio… a hypnotist's finger-click signalling women to wake up.' (The Observer)

'this book might make you a little more conscious when dealing with patients who may be battling with body image problems, or an eating disorder.' (Student BMJ (British Medical Journal))

'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."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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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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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
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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 understanding adviser to Your Husband but as well as this which affects every Women even the ones who are Super rich Muti millionaire singers such as Madonna who have and can having the luxury of money which gives You all the time in the world to do press ups everyday get an personal Trainer build an gym in Your home. Right down to the ordinary office White Collar Public sector Working Class women who can't afford an Personal Trainer or get an Gym Built in her home and won't have the time If an Women like Britney Jean Spears for example Million Pound sold 20 Million Albums and singles Worldwide one week is in the Magazine like Now I have lost two dress sizes and this is how You Can Do It too. You Can Do It too without the help of personal trainers the Daily 25 Pound Gym Membership Nanny to take the Kids off Your hand so You can still go to the studio and record songs go on album promotion trips and out partying with the likes of Paris Hilton etc. Note The You Can Do It Too It is like it is targeted at Us as if too say You must lost weight You will feel better and be Just like Britney . The other thing as well if Britney puts on Weight or any Celebrity she is labelled fat too make her feel extra insecure and us . Losing Weight is always Good Gaining Weight is Bad . This book is just so right there is an number of reasons Young Girls usually aged between thirteen and nineteen and usually in the media as white and middle class. The rise of thin is attractive the Rise in Pro Ana sites promoting Anorexic as an lifestyle rather than Disease The airbrushing of celebrities in Celebrity Magazines. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Ok' 18 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading 'An Apple a Day', so I decided to purchase the kindle version of 'Ministry of Thin'. To be honest, I enjoyed 'An Apple a Day' much better as it was about the author's personal journey in coping with an eating disorder. 'Ministry of Thin' is a discussion based book looking at how society views body image. Although it is well written, I found I skipped over some parts as they were a bit boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab, if anything too short! 29 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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 articulate and explain to others. A valued purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Left me hanging 29 July 2013
By Pamela
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sorry, Emma! I feel bad about giving your book, The Ministry of Thin, only three stars -especially since I found it compelling and entertaining.

As a description of the pressures on women and their looks, I think my female friends who are into culture, anthropology and sociology would like it.

Me personally, I didn't enjoy the feeling at the end of every chapter of being left hanging; craving answers. Maybe that's the way it is, and the author has done her job. Or maybe it's because the subtitle portrayed a book that would be about the whys and the hows; more scientific or, at least, explanatory.

Being a massive Emma Woolf fan, I'll be looking out for further publications with keen interest. Just this one was not to my taste. Sorry!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me think 22 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and it really made me think about how we are affected by the world around us. I liked to think that I was relatively unaffected by the social expectations about how women should look. Reading this book made me realise otherwise. There are so many behaviours that when you describe them (as this book does) become seriously bizarre.

I would be very careful about reading this book if you have an eating disorder or are recovering.

Very well written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 2 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 4 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 6 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 6 months ago by Ignis
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 8 months ago by Miranda B
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book, but shaky on the science
I have enjoyed this book and it's an easy, conversational read, but I can't help feeling that many of the assertions the author makes lack any real substance. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfectly Honest Look at The World of Thin
The Ministry of Thin is a book which takes an honest and frank approach to looking into society's growing obsession with perfection. Read more
Published 14 months ago by hannah_m94
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Opens up a whole area of discussion regarding the power and disturbing influence of celebrity over young ( and not so young) girls in society today.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs. M. A. Emerson
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