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Winner of The Berkshire Prize in History, The John Hope Franklin Prize for American Studies, The Basker Memorial Prize for Medical Anthropology and The Watson Davis Prize for History of Science
This updated edition of Joan Jacobs Brumberg's Fasting Girls, presents a history of women's food-refusal dating back as far as the sixteenth century. Here is a tableau of female self-denial: medieval martyrs who used starvation to demonstrate religious devotion, "wonders of science" whose families capitalized on their ability to survive on flower petals and air, silent screen stars whose strict "slimming" regimens inspired a generation. Here, too, is a fascinating look at how the cultural ramifications of the Industrial Revolution produced a disorder that continues to render privileged young women helpless. Incisive, compassionate, illuminating, Fasting Girls offers real understanding to victims and their families, clinicians, and all women who are interested in the origins and future of this complex, modern and characteristically female disease.
When Fasting Girls first appeared in 1988, anorexia nevosa was widely considered a new disease. In fact, most people thought it would go away. Joan Jacob Brumberg's award-winning book changed that perception by demonstrating when and where anorexia nervosa orginated and why it has become so "popular" in our time. A classic work that is both a biography of the disease and a sustained inquiry intot he cultural forces that perpetuate it, Fasting Girls--newly revised and updated--will stand for years as the authoritative book on the subject.
"Full of fascinating cases, from medieval saints and Victorian spiritualists to contemporary college students and media celebrities."--Alison Lurie
"Brilliant--. A masterful blend of history and contemporary issues."--Journal of Social History
"Brings clarity to the confounding, frustrating, and increasing pressure of eating disorders in our society . . . an excellent and enjoyable book." --Journal of the American Medical Association