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Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty
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Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  395 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
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 Afri
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2008)
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Chip Hunter
Dec 29, 2016 Chip Hunter rated it really liked it
I bought and read this book because I wanted to know. Specifically, I wanted to know what hell was the matter with Africa? What is the deal with this entire continent that I have been hearing about my whole life and that cannot seem to get on its feet even after so many years of attention and aid from the rest of the world? Why are there still millions of starving people in this land of potential plenty??

This book partially succeeded in answering my questions, but principally attacks these probl
Nov 24, 2011 Jaclyn rated it it was ok
written by journalists, more narratives than historical and factual information using scholarly sources
not much extensive focus on Western policies in history that have rendered poor countries poor and the structural factors underlying poverty
when they do mention policy, talks a little too much about agricultural/farm policy and food aid, overlooking or only mentioning briefly social factors, government, war, corruption--all the other things that influence starvation rather than simply the physi
Oct 16, 2009 Jayanthi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely a well-written and very readable book on hunger and agricultural development. It's fast-paced and filled with personal anecdotes and profiles that make the issue much more concrete and approachable (something that can be a bit difficult when you're talking about subsidies and ag research). The first part of the book is a pretty scathing look at how American agricultural subsidies and insistence on food aid hurt developing countries. The main case study used by the authors is E ...more
Nov 27, 2013 J.P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a shame that a book like this had to be written. It's not a doom & gloom book but I think anyone who reads it would be hard pressed to feel good after reading it. It clearly demonstrated how aid from the "first" world to the "third" world was detrimental to the farmers but made pointless by the World Bank & World Trade Organization policies, especially Structural Adjustment. The "first" world was essentially giving with one hand & taking with the other. The book also highlighted ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-issues
This book addresses an important issue that does not receive enough attention. If for no other reason, people should read this book in order to understand the worldwide implications of the farm subsidies in the US (and Europe too, for that matter). The authors claim (and the point stands whether or not one agrees with the specific numbers) that the hunger-related aid from the US to Africa is almost completely offset by the amount that US farm subsidies take from African farmers; the subsidies ca ...more
Melody Schreiber
Aug 14, 2013 Melody Schreiber marked it as to-read
Shelves: tbr, food, tanzania
Green revolution: "The record harvests brought only more misery to the farmers, as the surpluses led to price collapses. Beyond the harvest gains, certain vital aspects of the Green Revolution never made it to Africa. There has been no investment in rural infrastructure to enable the movement of crops from where they were plentiful to where they were scarce, no development of markets so farmers could get fair prices, no financing to support farmers, no subsidies to cushion them against price dro ...more
Bob Anderson
Mar 17, 2015 Bob Anderson rated it really liked it
This book has an important point to make: basically, the world produces enough food to feed Africa, and Africa could produce enough food to feed itself, but the structures that we have to deal with food don’t work quite right. Farmers there have a problem with the regular boom/bust cycle that comes from not having access to advanced markets and storage: a good harvest is associated with other farmers having good harvests, which drives down the prices you get for your grain, which makes you unabl ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
One-sentence review: Well-researched, good balance between statistics and stories, humbling, and inspiring.

I took forever to finish this, because I'm the kind of reader who can only take so much reality in one sitting. The authors make the case that hunger is the biggest moral issue facing humanity today, and it's hard to disagree.

The bigger argument, and the one that surprised me, is that world hunger is not an unavoidable, insurmountable issue. Yes, droughts happen, wars happen, but famines ar
Apr 20, 2016 Charles rated it really liked it
As you may have heard, production isn't the challenge. Distribution is the challenge. Functional markets could go a long way to solve these challenges.

In spite of the fact that these authors work for the Wall Street Journal, they are not against government support for agriculture in the developing world. Ideologically they might have preferred structural adjustment compacts that demand farmers figure it out themselves, but that evidently doesn't work out so well for people living on the knife's
Jul 10, 2011 Jackie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If I could have given this book 3.5 stars, I would have. I learned a lot and found it fascinating. At the same time, there were a number of chapters that I felt were wholly unnecessary (e.g. the genesis of Bono's philanthropy). There were also a number of conjectures that I just didn't feel I could totally trust without some kind of outside reference. For example, the authors claim that the major reason the IMF abandoned its restrictions on countries from giving subsidies to their farmers was Ma ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Caro rated it liked it
This was a very interesting book and I learned a lot from it. It felt like more of a collection of articles rather than a cohesive book, though. The authors talked about how important it is to increase crop yields, then in the next chapter how increased crop yields would lead to crisis without the markets to support them. In one chapter they talked about how crop subsidies in the West are hurting farmers around the world, then about how those farmers desperately need subsidies themselves. These ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: all
This is an important read for anyone who cares about why people still starve in a world as rich as ours. The authors do a fantastic job of connecting what happens in an Ethiopian famine with what happens on American farmland, and how the decisions of African governments are deeply influenced by the decisions of Western legislatures and global economic bodies. Without falling into ideological bias, the authors both critique and commend politicians and NGO leaders of several different ideological ...more
Jenn Hailley
Oct 14, 2009 Jenn Hailley rated it it was amazing
This book is an extremely informative and startling look at the reasons for starvation around the world,and different people and organizations' efforts to eradicate it. Unfortunately I was pretty ignorant on this topic, never having heard of Borlaug, the Green Revolution, the ridiculous farm subsidies that westernized rich countries (most especially the USA) give to well-to-do farmers, etc. I really think this book is good reading for anyone who is interested in why there are so many people star ...more
Mariko Nakamura
Dec 07, 2014 Mariko Nakamura rated it liked it
This is a readable book that allows the reader to view the issue of hunger on many different scales with the many different players. It gives a historical context and humanizes the players. I enjoyed reading it and will use it as a jumping off point. I learned a lot from this book!

There are some issues that I have with this book.
1. The last chapter offers major points that need to be addressed. Some of these points were not addressed within the book itself, which is a little frustrating.
2. It'
Jun 14, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it
This was a well-written and thorough introduction to the political factors that have contributed to food security problems in Africa and to some solutions that have been tried there (both successes and failures). The authors include personal stories as well as statistics, which makes the book very readable, and practical suggestions for changes we can support keep it from being overwhelming.

I was disappointed, however, that a book supposedly about worldwide hunger focused only on Africa. The pe
Apr 01, 2016 Elfl0ck rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite kinds of books: and important contemporary issue described with concrete examples, a nice narrative sense, and accessible language. And thankfully, the authors spends as much time on potential solutions as on descriptions of the problems.

Thurow and Kilman touch on many different aspects of hunger, including local policy, international policy, and ecological issues, and always uses a historical example as the starting point rather than drowning in pure theory. My only c
Oct 31, 2011 Rhett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned more about geo-politics and agriculture than I had ever thought that I'd care to know. My first assumption about this book is that it would be railing on greedy Americans, and in all honesty it sort of did, but it did so in a way that was fair and convincing. It was a far more interesting book than I had thought it would be and the book told many great stories of people who were either helping, being helped or needing help and how geo-politics are impacting the ability to assist starvi ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Saritha marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Not quite the weekend read I was expecting, but am intrigued and disturbed by the politics of hunger as described in this book.

All the world's advancements seem useless when there are parts of the world, esp Africa, where the basic human need for food and water are not fulfilled. The biggest irony - as has been described many times before - is that of starving farmers. This, when, according to the book, Africa has almost twice as much arable land than the European Union!

And all this, just in t
Aug 13, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing
Was given this to read for work. It is really good. Written by two WSJ very well written, based on stories they did over years...some of the stuff I knew, but also learned/verified a lot about global agricultural markets and why things are so crazy.
Also, it is written so that the stories are told about actual people, makes it really..gut-wrenching. I cried at one point.
Since I am now going to be working on agriculture and food security issues in this new job..this was a good ins
Molly Thompson
Apr 12, 2011 Molly Thompson rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed this book. It is a non-fiction book that reads like a fiction book: it has a protagonist, antagonist(s), and a plot line. It illustrates the complexity of food insecurity in Africa, and offers explanations as to why the Green Revolution never took root there. It is easily accessible to those with no prior education on food security issues, and is an eye-opening read. It deserves a much wider audience than it likely attracts.
Adam Shields
Apr 17, 2010 Adam Shields rated it liked it
Short review: Walks through the agricultural revolution that occurred in Asia and the Americas but did not really reach Africa. There is lot of info about why Africa continues to have problems in spite of the international Aid and attention. A very good and well documented book, although it can be a little dry in places.

My full review is at
Oct 19, 2009 Steve marked it as to-read
Shelves: icpl, ui-lib
I am the first person to check this book out at the UI Main Library. It even came with the cover flap. I have decide to collect these since at checkout they were going to just throw it away. Maybe this is part of the problem we have in being a part of the solution to hunger. We throw away enough food to feed how many starving poor in Africa? We have grown up in America with a throw-away mentality.
Derek Walsh
An enthralling account of the problems of starvation and why the poorest countries (mostly in Africa) are still suffering despite the Green Revolution and the vast amount of aid they receive. The causes turn out to be largely political rather than environmental. Although the problems seem intractable, the book goes on to highlight remedies that are already in place and possible future solutions.
Jan 09, 2016 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
A great historical perspective on the development of hybrid seed by Norman Borlaug and countless others to address poverty and hunger around the world. This is an incredibly accessible read, enjoyable even. I appreciate that the book addresses issues of pesticide use and other environmental concerns from a nonjudgmental lens. Very informative.
Jun 30, 2012 Hazem rated it really liked it
A very helpful resource, and it comes in handy these days with the rising of water related problems between Egypt and Ethiopia. Reading this book will give you some insights about the dynamics of water conflicts, agricultural development, and some economic rationale. I wouldn't fully approve the writers views especially when it comes to the river nile problems.
Fred Rose
"Thurow is coming to IonE/Mpls in Sept. to speak (Sept 15, check the IonE website) but in any case, food production is also the topic for the Acara Challenge coming up. Very good book, very readable. Like many types of aid, giving crops to the starving in Africa undercut the local food producers and prevents the local agricultural economy from becoming sustainable."
Mar 31, 2010 Catherine rated it really liked it
Periodically I need reminders of just how much I really enjoy in the form of material security. This book is also a good lesson on the complexity of international affairs and why globalization doesn't always work out so well (subsidies for rich country farmers but none for African farmers has made a very unfair playing field).
Mar 19, 2010 Stacy rated it really liked it
I happened upon this book at my library & I'm very glad I did. It was a very well-written, informative introduction to the realities of hunger and food security issues. Eye opening!! The style of writing really kept me going through some difficult material--realizing that all we do is just a drop in the bucket of what really needs to be done. I can't wait to share it with others.

Sammi Fredenburg
Jul 17, 2009 Sammi Fredenburg rated it really liked it
recommended by ONE, i thot i'd do my homework on global food security, and it's a valuable read. in the 21st century, there is no reason why our garbage disposals should eat better than 1/5th of the planet. i'm not too far into it yet, i'll update my review when i learn more.
Jul 17, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it
Very interesting and provides a lot of information and insight into this horrible situation.
I would have given it 5 stars, but it gets dry at some points and it felt like I was back in college forcing myself to read something required for class.
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