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Exodus from Hunger: We Are Called to Change the Politics of Hunger Paperback – October 20, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Though tremendous improvements in health and education have helped slow the epidemic of global hunger in recent decades, more needs to be done to help lift people out of poverty, says Beckmann, president of the antihunger advocacy group Bread for the World. Beckmann strongly supports new international efforts such as the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, rock star Bono's ONE campaign, and programs funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But he also shows how no country has made gains in staunching hunger without government antipoverty programs. Beckmann offers a multifaceted solution to domestic poverty, including citizen activism, community soup kitchens, good jobs, and government policies and programs. This book will be appreciated by church groups eager to bolster their charitable outreach, especially since it includes several inspiring vignettes of ordinary Christians doing extraordinary things to help stop hunger. The book's weakness is that it covers too much ground without offering a structured or easily applicable way forward. (Oct.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World and has served at the World Bank on projects to reduce poverty. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, helped found the ONE campaign with Bono, and appears regularly in mainstream and religious media. The author of several books on issues of hunger and poverty, Beckmann is a Lutheran minister and has a degree from the London School of Economics.
Top customer reviews
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a cause worthy of their time and effort and who wants to know how to make a difference.
Before getting into the book, I wanted to point out that David Beckmann is the real deal. I shared some conversations with him a few months ago during Bread for the World's 'Hunger Justice Leader' advocacy training program. Even after winning the World Food Prize--the food equivalent to a Nobel--and despite rubbing shoulders with people like Bono, George Bush, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, Beckmann is admiringly humble. In addition, he is both intelligent and spiritually literate, graduating from the London School of Economics and working at the World Bank before becoming a Lutheran pastor.
This pastor-economist firmly believes that, if we choose, we can join God to end world hunger in our lifetime. His attitude isn't pie-in-the sky optimism. Beckmann has a legitimate plan to bring relief to hungry people, and "Exodus From Hunger" explains it in three parts.
After a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the book's first part details the current hunger situation, defining `Where Things Stand Now'. Contrary to what many people think, we have actually made tremendous progress against extreme poverty in recent years, which has directly curbed hunger. For instance, from 1980 to 2005, the global fraction of people in extreme poverty has dropped from one-half to one-quarter, an incredible shift. This progress came in large part through the faithful advocacy of grassroots faith communities, spurred on by groups like Bread for the World.
Bread for the World combats hunger primarily through legislative advocacy. They seek to change the structures and policies that significantly influence whether families have enough money to put food on their tables. Bread for the World's work isn't a replacement for charitable organizations and food pantries, yet Beckmann notes that "it is impossible to food-bank our way to the end of hunger."
In the second part of the book, Beckmann points to `Where We Want to Go'. This part answers skeptics who question whether legislative advocacy is really the best way to subdue world hunger. Beckmann responds using stories of success, such as a small church group who transformed the global hunger picture by simply writing letters to their legislator. Eventually, their pleading won out, and the legislator championed a major global aid reform bill. Beckmann presents a compelling case that wherever you are, whatever your situation in life, you can take small actions to contribute to hunger relief. One, small handwritten letter has the potential to relieve thousands of hungry bellies.
The book's third and final part, titled `How We Get There Together', uses the Exodus story from the Bible to rally Christians to advocacy. Beckmann sees God moving today to bring people out of hunger the same way he moved to bring the Israelites out of slavery thousands of years ago.
This section also features Beckmann's personal journey, where he discloses his own struggles and transformation along the way. It would have been more helpful to read Beckmann's biography in the beginning of the book, so his proposals would have more context. The better you know someone, the more clearly you understand their arguments. For example, Richard Stearn's personal story was near the beginning of his recent "Hole In Our Gospel", which textured his later words. Nevertheless, discovering Beckmann's own journey of compassion only adds weight to his arguments.
With over one hundred references, "Exodus From Hunger" provides solid backing for its statistics and proposals. And quotes from U.S. Catholic Bishops and Evangelical theologians display an ecumenism mirroring Bread for the World itself. Throughout, the book is filled with both serious research and compassionate faith.
"Exodus From Hunger" is a book that every Christian in our country should read, regardless of whether the topic seems exciting. The book may read like literary cough syrup, but Beckmann's passion, practical advice, and invitation to `join the movement' help the medicine go down easy.