Random Interesting Book from My Library: “The Geography of Hunger” – Josue de Castro

I discovered both “The Geography of Hunger” and its later revised edition “The Geopolitics of Hunger” at my favourite used bookstore in Manitoba, A La Page in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface. At first I was very skeptical about this book; the title of the book and the subject struck me as very bourgeois and neo-Malthusian. True, one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, however the choice of words in a book’s title can reveal much about its contents. For example, I find that I usually don’t like books with the word “inside” in the title (ex. “Inside ISIS”, “Inside the Kremlin”, “Inside Central Asia” [side note: don’t read Dilip Hiro]). That’s because I have often felt that authors/publishers insert the word “inside” into a book title’s as a flashy marketing tactic and as a means of concealing the substandard content of a book. Consequently, I am deterred from reading a book if I see the word “inside” in the title. Of the 1300+ books I own, 17 of them have the word “inside” in the title.

Anyhow, I am thankful I ignored my initial inhibitions about this book; it is undoubtedly one of the most important books I have ever read and contributed immensely to the development of my world outlook. Although I had long considered myself a Marxist-Leninist when I bought and read this book, I had still not fully expunged from myself neo-Malthusian arguments about hunger and overpopulation. Scientifically speaking, too many humans on a finite planet creates hunger, at least to some extent, no? That was my thinking when I first opened this book — and was I in for a massive shock!

A physician, nutritionist, geographer, and public official, Castro completely inverts neo-Malthusianism. According to Castro, rather than hunger being a “natural” result of overpopulation, hunger is an entirely man-made social phenomenon that leads to overpopulation!

You are probably thinking, “WHAT?! HOW CAN THIS BE?! NONSENSE! THIS IS BLASPHEMY!”

But Castro is no quack pseudo-doctor like Dr. Oz if the latter lived in the 1930s. He supports his arguments with an incredible amount of scientific detail and evidence: the affect of hunger and nutrition on fertility both at the time of publication and during historical periods of famine, cellular survival and reproduction, the socio-economic aspects of the biological manifestation of hunger, etc.

Withhold your inhibitions and don’t reject the author’s arguments until you read this book; it is impossible for me to summarize all his evidence here (and right now). This book is truly a masterpiece and seminal work on hunger and overpopulation.

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