Calories and Corsets: A history of dieting over 2,000 years

November 12, 2019 - Comment

“At last, a book on dieting that is sensible, and better still, entertaining.”—The Independent Today we are urged from all sides to slim down and shape up, to shed a few pounds or lose life-threatening inches. The media’s relentless obsession with size may be perceived as a twenty-first-century phenomenon, but as award-winning historian Louise Foxcroft

“At last, a book on dieting that is sensible, and better still, entertaining.”—The Independent

Today we are urged from all sides to slim down and shape up, to shed a few pounds or lose life-threatening inches. The media’s relentless obsession with size may be perceived as a twenty-first-century phenomenon, but as award-winning historian Louise Foxcroft shows, we have been struggling with what to eat, when, and how much ever since the Greeks and the Romans first pinched an inch.

Meticulously researched, surprising, and sometimes shocking, Calories and Corsets tells the epic story of our complicated relationship with food, the fashions and fads of body shape, and how cultural beliefs and social norms have changed over time. Combining research from medical journals, letters, articles, and the dieting bestsellers we continue to devour (including one by an octogenarian Italian in the sixteenth century), Foxcroft reveals the extreme and often absurd lengths people will go to in order to achieve the perfect body, from eating carbolic soap to chewing every morsel hundreds of times to a tasteless pulp.

This unique and witty history exposes the myths and anxieties that drive today’s multi-billion dollar dieting industry—and offers a welcome perspective on how we can be healthy and happy in our bodies.

Louise Foxcroft has a PhD in the history of medicine from the University of Cambridge. Her book Hot Flushes, Cold Science was the winner of the 2009 Longman-History Today Prize.


Product Features

  • Used Book in Good Condition

Comments

Anonymous says:

Fascinating This is fascinating history. I enjoyed the way history and anecdotes were woven together. I learned a lot from the social commentary and will be rereading many parts. This is great as background reading to working on body image issues.

Anonymous says:

For Diet Wonks This book provides a very comprehensive history of diets and diet-promoters. Those who, like me, have spent their lives on one diet or another, will be interested in how the “modern” approaches to dieting so often have very deep roots, and how the promoters of fad diets have used almost the same arguments and approaches for centuries.

Anonymous says:

Excellent ! very well written – I love books that have anything to do with food history . This book is great

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