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The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700 (New Approaches to Economic and Social History)

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521879750
ISBN-10: 0521879752
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The scope of this book is breath taking in its description of the remarkable changes in human constitutions in the Western World over the last 300 years at a pace never seen before in history. Written from a multidisciplinary perspective, it will inform and excite persons in the health and social sciences and give them a new and valuable perspective on modern human development." -Nevin S. Scrimshaw, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and World Food Prize Laureate

"Rich, complex but surprisingly readable, The Changing Body is a paradigm-shifting contribution. A sub-discipline that began modestly by identifying height as a secondary indicator of wellbeing now provides a way to conceptualize economic, indeed human, progress." -Jane Humphries, Oxford University

"Roderick Floud and Robert Fogel pioneered the study of the links between nutrition, health, and individual productivity in the past. In this book they, and their two colleagues Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong, conduct a masterful survey of what has been achieved in this field in the past quarter century, providing persuasive and thought-provoking evidence whose importance has been greatly underrated." -Tony Wrigley, University of Cambridge

"The authors of The Changing Body demonstrate the value of anthropometric data and information on health and mortality to the understanding of long-term changes in the economic development of the U.S., England, France, and elsewhere in continental Europe. They provide important new insights into the causes and consequences of economic change in the modern world." -Stanley L. Engerman, John H. Munro Professor of Economics and Professor of History, University of Rochester

"The book, which sums up the work of dozens of researchers on one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in economic history, is sure to renew debates over Mr. Fogel's groundbreaking theories about what some regard as the most significant development in humanity's long history." -Patricia Cohen, New York Times

"[The book] offers an authoritative summary of the field of technophysio evolution." -Science

"The hallmark of the book, however, is its relentless focus on detail (where the devil is) and the gradual building up of the case for the big-think claims." -EH.Net

"Essential." -Choice

"The hallmark of this book...is its relentless focus on detail (where the devil is) and the gradual building up of the case for the big-think claims." -Tomas Cvrcek, EH.Net

Book Description

It is only recently that the changing size, shape and capability of the human body has been linked to economic and demographic change. This groundbreaking book provides an accessible introduction to anthropometric history, surveying the economic causes and consequences of changes in health and mortality, diet and the disease environment.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Approaches to Economic and Social History
  • Hardcover: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521879752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521879750
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,853,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Contrary to another review, this book doesn't have anything to say about who is more productive. What it does, with extensive detail, is trace a 300 year evolution of progress with high living standards leading to better nutrition, leading to healthier babies which are taller and heavier, having taller and heavier babies, in turn. For those who think the obesity is a recent phenomenon, this book indicates it is a long standing trend, one which has skyrocketed int the last 50 years. But it obviously started well before computer games, sugar-sweetened beverages, vending machines and other current villans. So, it brings into question, What is the goal of current obesity policy? To what stage of history do we want to return? 1950? 1850? Why are we focusing on changing behavior of individuals who are simply a part of a broad evolutionary trend? And what about the economic development of Asia and other developing countries? Is obesity and its related conditions their inevitable price of improved living standards? This is a book full of profound questions which need thoughtful examination.
See my full review at [...]
Morgan Downey
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating subject demonstrated through statistical analysis of historical documents, not just on various anecdotal accounts. Dry as dust to read, but fascinating once I let my mind focus.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If only Amazon could use its capability to publish scholarly works in a competent way.

As others, too numerous to mention, have pointed out, graphical materials and photos are destroyed and made useless by the slipshod and simply awful way that Amazon portrays them. The content is excellent; the publishing is awful; I removed one star for the publishing mess. For the most part, Amazon publishes text; its tables, graphs, photos and other materials are less than useless. They are mostly marketing come-ons that always disappoint. Not a single graph/chart is properly readable as far as I could discern. For a book like this, Amazon should hang its head in shame.

I wasted $14 on this and am severely disappointed.
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The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700 (New Approaches to Economic and Social History)
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