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The Hungry Years


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Has the eye-opening impact of No Logo or Fast Food Nation Makes fat not just a feminist issue but relevant to everyone: William Leith's unblinking investigation of the physical consequences and psychological pain of being an overweight man charts new territory Shortlisted for the Mind Awards 2006 Book of the Year

About the Author

William Leith is a journalist who has written about subjects as diverse as cosmetic surgery, Palestine, Hollywood directors, and drugs. He writes regularly for the Guardian, the Observer, and the Daily Telegraph.


Leith, a regular contributor to English newspapers like the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, offers so much more than a diary of weight gain and loss. Instead of espousing menus or mantras, he relates every sordid detail of his life without the expectation of sympathy. He describes in great detail the need (or "greed," as he calls it) for more-more sex, more drugs, more alcohol, more food. His internal dialog as he travels to interview the late diet guru Dr. Robert Atkins illuminates this thought process best. Readers will see Leith's recurring obesity as a symptom-not a cause-of his difficulties. Though these may be the confessions of a food addict, Leith uses his book to reveal to a multitude of other addictions, framing them scientifically and sociologically. Readers accustomed to motivational or inspirational stories of weight loss may not be drawn in, but public libraries would do well do carry this as an alternative; recommended.-Rachel M. Minkin, Graduate Theological Union Lib., Berkeley, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'This hilarious, self-lacerating memoir of a compulsive eater is a superb book. I feel about The Hungry Years the way William Leith feels about buttered toast: I couldn't get enough and I panicked when I was reaching the end. Leith has always been one of our best non-fiction writers and this is his crowning achievement' Jon Ronson 'The Hungry Years is a confessional, satirical, wise, tragic, truly original book about addiction, food and what's really inside a fat man that's trying to get out. The Hungry Years defies categorisation - it's part memoir, part diet book, part comedy, and part sugar rush. It's the first real book about body image for men, and it breaks taboos, breaks new ground, and breaks your heart. William Leith has finally fulfilled his always huge potential. I loved it' Tim Lott 'As a memoir and as comedy, it succeeds beautifully. As a sugar rush, it is definitely compulsive ... As a confessional, it is pretty much a masterclass - frank, tough-minded, funny, generous' Zoe Williams, New Statesman 'Compulsively readable. I gulped it down in a couple of greedy bites ... It is a powerful memoir ... it has the unusual qualities of heart and daring. In the end, these are what stay inside you' Daily Telegraph

Leith is a binger: when he starts eating, he can't stop-and he wants to know why. This question, and an interview with Dr. Atkins, leads him to explore fad diets, unhealthy food production and the ubiquitous media depictions of "perfect" human physiques. While some of British journalist Leith's facts have been reported elsewhere, his humorous anecdotes, compelling interviews and sobering statistics provide convincing arguments against processed foods, government nutritional requirements and other evils of the food chain. In his fast-paced, stream-of-conscious style, Leith molds a journalistic expos?, a food journal and a memoir into the personal exploration of a man consumed by a consuming society. Though he hardly exercises, the 236-pound Leith embarks on the Atkins diet to great success, but in the process realizes that denying himself carbohydrates brings up issues that go beyond his diet. Hungry for answers, he starts seeing a therapist, who suggests that he eats compulsively because he has "been running away from emotions." Leith's ups and downs will ring true for anyone who has tried to lose a significant amount of weight, and the revelations that come out of Leith's therapy sessions will undoubtedly have readers asking why they really want that doughnut. Agent, Nina Collins. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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