Book Reviews

The Withering Child

John Gould, takes his wife, an Episcopal priest, and his 2 sons, Sam 1 1/2 years old and Gardner, 5 years old, to England where he hopes to sabbatical for a year. During the 2 months that they manage to stay in the land of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, 5 year old Gardner loses about a third of his weight. His syndrome consisted of refusing to eat, vomiting regularly, and a peculiar habit of screaming at night with terrible leg cramps and stomachaches. Consultations with the English National Health Care System are not helpful or satisfactory.

The pain of obesity

I finally got around to reading a book by my hero Albert Stunkard M.D., called "The Pain of Obesity" that was published in 1976, before I was born.  Dr. Stunkard died a few years ago. When he wrote this book he was 50 years old but he continued to research obesity for many years after that.

The Obesity Myth. Why America's obsession with weight is hazardous to your health.

This book should bear the further subtitle, How I lost my battle with paranoid schizophrenia.

Paul Campos is a lawyer. (How does he get to publish a book about obesity?) He is well read. He quotes Flaubert p70, Keats p129 and Joyce p136. He speaks Spanish although the single Spanish quote has a typo. But most importantly he is fighting obesity himself and it seems he is winning the fight. Therein lies his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

The Fat of the Land. The Obesity Epidemic and How Overweight Americans Can Help Themselves

The subtitle says it all.

My used copy was discarded from the Tucson-Pima Public Library.

By page xviii we get, "As this book progressed, the weight fell off. I have now lost that 25 lbs and then some..." Uh oh. I wonder what he weighs today since according to him the weight set point doesn't really exist.

The End Of Overeating. Taking control of the insatiable American appetite

I did not read this book. I only skimmed it. It is terminally, morbidly, catastrophically boring and pointless. I also heard Dr. Kessler speak at the 2007 Cleveland Clinic Obesity Summit. David Kessler was the Food and Drug Commissioner under HW Bush and Bill Clinton. He has lots of other impressive credentials. He is a pediatrician like me. But whoa, I hope he was better at whatever else he did. If I can't read the book and comment on it more specifically, maybe I should just skip it, but this book has been recommended and so I need to at least list it.


"Hunger, a Memoir of (my) Body,  by New York Times the best selling author of "Bad Feminist,"  is about her tribulations with severe obesity. Bottom line - it is a cruel world for fat people and a very cruel world for very fat people.
From a beautiful, very functional,loving, well off Haitian family - not like that family of JD Vance in "Hillbilly Elegy" (2016 HarperCollins again) -  Roxane Gay went to Exeter for high school and Yale University. She is a successful writer.

Fat Power. Whatever you Weigh is Right.

This manifesto about the "Brainwash," is from way back when obese people were a downtrodden minority. But it is still a minority point of view now that obese people are a downtrodden majority. How anybody could think that obese people are mostly "deniers," (like Louderback) is hard to believe. "This book's contention that a fat person's major problem is not his obesity but the view that society takes of it." is true, even prescient, since it reads so well today, 37 years later. The obese hate themselves as much as society does.

Fat Politics, The Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic

J Eric Oliver is a professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He acknowledges Paul Campos and sounds a lot like Paul Campos who wrote a jacket blurb for Fat Politics. I can't argue with a lot of what J Eric Oliver or Paul Campos say because they sound a lot like me. They have lots of good references to share too. But these authors have an allergy to admitting that their morass of conflicting information doesn't lead anywhere.