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Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age Of Plenty [Hardcover]

Roger Thurow , Scott Kilman

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Book Description

June 23 2009
For more than thirty years, humankind has known how to grow enough food to end chronic hunger worldwide. Yet while the “Green Revolution” succeeded in South America and Asia, it never got to Africa. More than 9 million people every year die of hunger, malnutrition, and related diseases every year—most of them in Africa and most of them children. More die of hunger in Africa than from AIDS and malaria combined. Now, an impending global food crisis threatens to make things worse.

In the west we think of famine as a natural disaster, brought about by drought; or as the legacy of brutal dictators. But in this powerful investigative narrative, Thurow & Kilman show exactly how, in the past few decades, American, British, and European policies conspired to keep Africa hungry and unable to feed itself. As a new generation of activists work to keep famine from spreading, Enough is essential reading on a humanitarian issue of utmost urgency.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Public Affairs (June 23 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586485113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485115
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #752,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Financial Times
“Thurow and Kilman are journalists who have covered famines in Africa, agricultural policy in the corridors of Washington and Brussels, and food commodities markets in Chicago. Yet their book is more than just a rough first draft of history. While grounded in colourful, entertaining reportage, Enough also displays a depth of thought and research more commonly found in academic studies. Well-chosen anecdotes bring the issues to life. Nothing could illustrate the shortcomings of US food aid policy, in which Washington sells American farmers' output in Africa rather than sending money to buy local food, better than a dialogue between an Ethiopian farmer and a US executive at a food aid meeting in Addis Ababa. The farmer asks the executive enthusiastically: ‘Can you help our farmers sell their beans in America?’ He receives an unexpected answer: ‘Actually, we represent American bean growers.’

AG Week
“I recently received my copy of “Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty.” Every person connected to the food industry should read it.”

“For sensitive souls, the book's vivid descriptions of the ugliness of African poverty can make for difficult reading. But the knowledge is worth the unpleasantness. Thurow and Kilman lead the reader on a journey across continents, explaining the complexities of economic dysfunction and reminding us that there is a symbiosis of wealth and poverty that explains why starvation endures in an age of plenty.”

Huffington Post
“A page turner. Unless you simply don't give a damn, this is a must read, and it is a must read now.

Sunanda Holmes, USA Today
“Thurow and Kilman lead the reader on a journey across continents, explaining the complexities of economic dysfunction and reminding us that there is a symbiosis of wealth and poverty that explains why starvation endures in an age of plenty.”

About the Author

Roger Thurow has been a Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent for twenty years, and has reported from more than sixty countries, including two dozen in Africa.

Scott Kilman has been the Journal’s leading agriculture reporter. Thurow and Kilman have teamed up to produce a stream of page-one stories in the Journal that have broken new ground in our understanding of famine and food aid. Their stories on three 2003 famines were a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking ... and hopeful Aug. 31 2009
By Stuart Bloom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Half way through the book, you'll be mad as hell. By the end, you'll see some rays of hope.

Thurow and Kilman lay out the problem: a billion or so starving or malnourished people in the world, in spite of the fact that there is enough food to feed everyone. Then they describe the barriers to getting the food to the people who need it: greed, politics, good intentions gone awry, and infrastructure/technical issues. Finally, they describe some of the ongoing efforts to overcome or end-run the barriers, and they lay out what needs to happen for the great vision of Jesus in Matthew 25 - the least being fed - to come to fruition. An important read, yet an interesting read and an easy read.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable progress in agriculture, not foreign aid Aug. 2 2009
By Peter Lorenzi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A wonderful, readable, engaging treatise on the positive strategies for fighting hunger in a world of plenty. Basicall, the altruistic idea of "give a man a fish" does not work very well, despite its best intentions, especially if you are in the business of selling fish. Sound odd or ironic? Not really. When foreign aid in the form of free grain from American farmers arrives too late in a famine area, the local farmers are unable to sell their own product. What appears to be compassionate charity is clearly a deal to support American farmers and shippers and, perhaps only by chnace, starving Africans.

The "green revolution" started in Mexico and moved to Asia and then stumbled a bit in Africa. In Africa, the absence of the social and physical infrastructure needed to promote wealth-creating, modern, efficient agriculture had a hard time materializing. And foreign aid requirements that thwarted development, by insisting on premature free-market practices in a fledgling agricultural industry, only continued the problems while exposing foreign aid for what it is: government farm support for American farmers but not African farmers. Tens of millions, if not billions in aid was siphoned off by greedy African leaders and paid to shippers for carrying grain to Africa, grain that could have been purchased for much less locally and supported local farmers. It makes American accusations of "dumping" hypocritical at best, and life-thretening at worst.

Many of these case studies and stories have been published previously in the Wall Street Journal, so they will be familiar to readers of the Journal. And the authors conclude with some useful recommendations. It may seem surprising that such a compassionate treatment should come from bastion of capitalism yet, as more and more authors reveal each year, the solution to starvation in Africa is not more, free, American grain. The solution needs to be local and sustainable. "Enough" offers a bright light on the subject.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Thought-Provoking Book April 2 2010
By Mark K. Mcdonough - Published on Amazon.com
There is a great deal of interesting (not to mention heart-wrenching) information in this book, but the gist of the argument is this:

Food policy for the last 30 years has more or less ignored agricultural development and food self-sufficiency. Instead policy has focused on moving poor countries directly to industrialization. With industries, the reasoning goes, poor countries can export goods and use their export earnings to buy food from rich countries, including the United States. We produce food cheaply, they produce goods cheaply. We get cheap stuff, they get cheap food.

The authors point out a number of problems with this approach. First, it tends to fail just when poor countries need it most. A few years ago, there was a dramatic escalation in the price of rice. Immediately, famine threatened poor countries around the world. Second, as programs helping poor farmers are cut back or eliminated, they often have little choice but to abandon their farms and become urban slum dwellers - or to emigrate legally or illegally. It's this dynamic that has driven much of the post-NAFTA immigration from Mexico to the United States.

The authors argue that we need to re-orient global food policy to help poor farmers and encourage food self-sufficiency in poor nations. They admit that the task won't be easy, and that other factors (war, corruption, and disease) also help create hunger. They also point out that our current policies are very convenient for powerful economic interests - not least large-scale farmers, global grain trading companies, and manufacturers seeking cheap labor.

The authors have been covering this beat for the Wall Street Journal for many years and are clearly both passionate and very well-informed. They are also excellent writers - if some of the subject matter weren't so grim, I'd almost be tempted to describe it as a "fun read." Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, shocking report on how rich nations' policies harm African farmers Sept. 29 2011
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Farm subsidies started out as a good way to protect hardworking US and European farmers against the vagaries of the marketplace and the weather. But they've morphed into a major reason why the developing world suffers regular, devastating famines. The effects of subsidies on commodity prices often mean that poor farmers, particularly those in Africa, cannot make any money selling their harvests, so they cannot buy the seeds and fertilizers they need to grow future crops. Without incomes, they and their families starve. In this revealing, shocking book, Wall Street Journal reporters Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman examine how - as they contend - practices by rich nations keep developing nations poor and hungry. getAbstract recommends this book to those who want to know why, in the 21st century, people still starve to death, and what's to be done about it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can There Be Enough? July 1 2011
By Spudman - Published on Amazon.com
The Gates Foundation estimated that a sum of 20 billion dollars would be necessary to finance a food program in Africa to feed the hungry and help citizens and individual countries save themselves. So much more than that lofty sum has been spent on corporate bailouts , weight loss programs, and long, costly wars intended to save lives.

This book is not so much about WHY so many people in the world are starving at it is a documentation of the painful circumstances found around the world, how relief might be brought to these suffering regions (especially in Africa, and the programs and people who are trying to alleviate hunger in various ways.

Enough is a depressing book at times, yet the stories of those generous people and countries trying to make a difference give hope to the possibility of a different world in the future. One of the bleakest examples in the book is that of Zimbabwe driven to the brink of collapse by the governement of Robert Mugabe. A country once the breadbasket of southern Africa now is a net importer of food because of Mugabe's failed agricultural policies.

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