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Fat: A Cultural History of Obesity Paperback – November 10, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0745644417 ISBN-10: 0745644414 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (November 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745644414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745644417
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In his splendid and timely book, [Gilman] provides a terrificassessment of the cultural history of obesity."

"This book will be useful to students of culture and socialidentity, concentrating as it does on the historical debatessurrounding obesity."
Times Higher Education

"[Fat] offers an engaging and suggestive reading withwhich all historians of fat, food, and modern dietary regimes willwant to engage."
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science ReviewsOnline

"Sander Gilman makes a nuanced and richly documented argumentabout the historical, cultural, and scientific contingency ofconcepts such as 'fat', 'obesity', and 'health'. This book is apowerful demonstration of how moralistic prejudices influencepublic health discourse, and our ideas of what constitutes diseasesand epidemics. It is an invaluable contribution to the contemporaryinterdisciplinary critique of our moral panic over fat."
Paul Campos, University of Colorado

"In Fat, Sander Gilman artfully skewers the culturaltropes and myths surrounding one of the leading moral panics of ourtime - America's so-called obesity epidemic. Gilman unearths thehidden agendas and historical precedents that allow for our growingweight to be labelled as a deadly disease. Through his wit anderudition, Fat is an invaluable perspective for anyonewanting a more nuanced perspective about health, culture, andsociety."
Eric Oliver, University of Chicago, author of FatPolitics

From the Back Cover

The modern world is faced with a terrifying new‘disease’, that of ‘obesity’. As people getfatter, we have come to see excess weight as unhealthy, morallyrepugnant and socially damaging. Fat it seems has long been anational problem and each age, culture and tradition have alldefined a point beyond which excess weight is unacceptable, ugly orcorrupting.

This fascinating new book by Sander Gilman looks at theinterweaving of fact and fiction about obesity, tracing publicconcern from the mid-nineteenth century to the modern day. He lookscritically at the source of our anxieties, covering issues such aschildhood obesity, the production of food, media coverage of thesubject and the emergence of obesity in modern China. Written as acultural history, the book is particularly concerned with thecultural meanings that have been attached to obesity over time andto explore the implications of these meanings for wider society.The history of these debates is the history of fat in culture, fromnineteenth-century opera to our global dieting obsession. Fat, ACultural History of Obesity is a vivid and absorbing culturalguide to one of the most important topics in modern society.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By N. Eidth on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good. Not great. I wish this book had more diverse sourcing and sometimes I found arguments to be unbalanced, although I do suggest this book for beginning critical conversation on a nuanced and known but rarely discussed topic.
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More About the Author

Sander L. Gilman, PhD, is a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University. A respected educator, he has served as Old Dominion Visiting Professor of English at Princeton; Northrop Frye Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto; Mellon Visiting Professor of Humanities at Tulane University; Goldwin Smith Professor of Humane Studies at Cornell University; and Professor of the History of Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College. He has written and edited several books including "Seeing the Insane," "The Face of Madness," and "Sexuality: An Illustrated History."

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