Betting on Famine: Why the World Still Goes Hungry
Jean Ziegler
New Press, 2013 ($26.95)

Nearly one billion people throughout the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. This shameful statistic stems not from a failure of agriculture, technology or science but from inhumane and shortsighted politics, contends Ziegler, a former special rapporteur for the United Nations. In grim detail, he explains hunger's high human and economic costs. He also investigates hunger's modern, geopolitical causes, drawing from recent examples such as the sanctions against Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule, in which the international community withheld food and medicine on the grounds that the supplies could be used by Iraq's military. As a result, several hundred thousand Iraqi children needlessly starved to death. Preventing hunger is possible, Ziegler argues, if the world recognizes that access to food is a basic human right.