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All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? Paperback – November 4, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; 1 edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583228543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583228548
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,010,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, spotlights domestic poverty and hunger in this book that has sharp words for politicians, charities and religious denominations. The author reveals how consistently the federal government has ignored the fact that 35.5 million Americans, including 12.6 million children, don't have enough to eat. Although local governments cared for hungry and poverty-stricken citizens in the pre-Depression years, contemporary politicos in Washington have alternately denied that hunger is a problem, then admitted its existence, then tried to eradicate it with programs that rarely last. Whether he is reasoning why the word hunger is better and more to-the-point than the government's term food insecure, pillorying hunger surveys that don't count the homeless or demonstrating how even well-meaning social services contribute to the problem, Berg is a passionate and articulate advocate. This book provides a range of practical solutions, but gets bogged down by an overwhelming amount of hard data and statistics, which may deter some readers from wanting to take a good-sized bite of it. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

JOEL BERG is Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH). He served for eight years under the Clinton Administration in Senior Executive Service positions in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), creating a number of high-profile initiatives that fought hunger and implemented national service projects across the country.

More About the Author

Joel Berg is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of hunger and food security, national and community service, and technical assistance provision to faith-based and community organizations. He is also author of the book, All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? The book challenges the President and Congress to make hunger eradication a top priority -- and offers them a simple and affordable plan to end it for good.

Since 2001, Berg has led the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, which represents the more than 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City and the more than 1.4 million low-income New Yorkers who live in households that cannot afford enough food. The Coalition works to meet their immediate food needs and to enact innovative solutions to help them move "beyond the soup kitchen" to self-sufficiency.

Prior to his work with the Coalition, Berg served for eight years in the Clinton Administration in senior executive service positions at USDA. For two years, he worked as USDA Coordinator of Community Food Security, a new position, in which he created and implemented the first-ever federal initiative to better enable faith-based and other nonprofit groups to fight hunger, bolster food security, and help low-income Americans move out of poverty.

He worked as USDA Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning the previous two years, working with community groups to increase the amount of food recovered, gleaned, and distributed to hungry Americans. Also while at the USDA, he served as Director of National Service, Director of Public Liaison, and as acting Director of Public Affairs and Press Secretary. From 1989 to 1993, he served as a policy analyst for the Progressive Policy Institute and a domestic policy staff member for then President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team.

Berg has published widely on the topics of hunger, national and community service, and grassroots community partnerships, including recent papers on US childhood hunger and practical solutions to end all domestic hunger as a Visiting Fellow for the Center for American Progress. He has also recently published papers on food jobs and other topics for the Progressive Policy Institute.

A native of Rockland County, NY, and a 1986 graduate of Columbia University, Berg now resides in Brooklyn. He is the past winner of the US Secretary of Agriculture's Honor Award for Superior Service and the Congressional Hunger Center's Mickey Leland National Hunger Fighter Award.

Customer Reviews

He offers solutions that make sense.
I enjoyed the easy conversational style of his writing.
Kindle Customer
A must read if you care about anybody but yourself.
Ryan C. Zerfas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Readerly on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best public policy books I've ever read. Why? Four simple reasons:
1. Joel Berg knows everything there is to know about hunger and the politics of food, and he's passionate about his subject.
2. He writes with vigor, intelligence, and great humor (a rarity among policy wonks!) You won't have to prop your eyes open with toothpicks. You'll zip through it, slowed down only because you'll stop a lot to quote from the pages and to ask other people in the room things like, "Guess how many weeks it would take a minimum-wage worker to earn enough money for a Hermes purse?"
3. He doesn't blame it all on the Republicans. He bashes liberals too, sometimes hilariously.
4. He offers solutions that make sense. Compared to some of the other problems this country has, ending hunger sounds like a breeze. Read this book and you'll agree. You might even help make it happen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cassandra Agredo on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I devoured (pun-intended) this book; I loved it. I read it on the train to and from work (where I happen to be the director of two emergency food programs). It alternately made me want to rage and cry and I was sometimes tempted to throw the book across the car in frustration with the government's--and my own--complicity in perpetuating the cycle of hunger and poverty in America. Luckily, Berg is also very funny and diffused the tension with great one-liners, causing me to crack up at random times (earning me many suspicious stares from my fellow commuters). For the record, my favorite line is "I'd be my own worst enemy if there weren't so much competition for the title." Priceless.

All joking aside, it's a truly well-written and clear-cut book, mostly very easy to read. Some of the stats get a bit heavy but if you just take them slowly and give them time to digest (ok, not ALL joking aside) they really do add to the overall picture of the situation. I'm going to be buying copies for the volunteers of my food programs. Some may not consider it to be the most festive topic but when you see that the book ends with a comprehensive, well thought-out and practical solution to the problem of hunger, it's enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit!

Thanks for the book Joel. You've done the country a great service with it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Tracy on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is funny, enlightening, and motivating. As an anti-hunger advocate I appreciated the stats and info that I knew I could use to fight stereotypes and mis-information about hunger and food stamps. When I am asked to present to college students I have used some of the sections that talk about the history and impacts of hunger and hunger programs to paint a picture about the current situation (the kids really got into it!). As someone who is looking for solid ways to end hunger, the concise and honest conclusion with Joel's ideas for ending hungry and making hungry programs work better is great. Seeing that it IS possible to end hunger helps to keep me motivated on those days when i need it most!
I recommend this book to anyone who works in this field, or wants to have a better understanding of the whats/whys/hows of hunger in the US and what can be done about it. Great book Mr. Berg!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert N. Kazel on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book and learned a great deal about hunger in our society. I see street people all the time (and I see the people walking by and ignoring them with disdain).

I see superficial TV reports about soup kitchens and holiday food events for the homeless every time December rolls around. But I never really knew that America still has a serious, systemic hunger problem that affects many more people than the press or public seems to realize.

And as Berg points out, it doesn't have to be this way! It's just a matter of national priorities...the money spent on Iraq for just a single day probably would go a long way to resolve the hunger crisis in America, if only politicians would understand that change is possible and necessary.

The chapter I enjoyed most is where Berg does an experiment and tries to live on a meager food-stamp budget (little more than $1 per meal) and experiences real hunger pangs himself. This is solid reporting. It's really an eye-opening experience for him and for us. We don't appreciate how accustomed we have become to eating "all we can eat" until we are forced to go on a very strict diet and live in continual denial.

I also liked the chapter where Berg painstakingly analyzes press reports about hunger over the past several decades, including major newspapers and network TV newcasts.

Amazingly there has been almost no coverage of hunger issues at all over the years and it has decreased to almost nothing recently. As a journalist this bothers me a great deal and makes me believe that reporters are, almost without exception, asleep at the switch -- covering trivial matters while failing to attempt anything close to substantial investigative journalism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
A really good read. I enjoyed the easy conversational style of his writing. Almost like sitting in the room with him and listening to him talk to you. And he made it all the more palatable with his humor. I learned much reading this book. I was surprised over and over again by some of the facts that he shares with us that make you wonder what has taken even this long to solve this problem, and yet it is still to be solved. I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to know the truth about the hunger and poverty in our own country and really want to see something done about it. A well kept secret is finally exposed. Good for you Joel Berg!
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