Three Famines: Starvation and Politics

Three Famines: Starvation and Politics

Three Famines: Starvation and Politics

Three Famines: Starvation and Politics

Excerpt

In a world of cyclical and enduring historic and modern want, this account is in greatest part a comparative story of three terrible hungers. The first of these famines is an Gorta Mar, the great hunger of Ireland, the famine that began in 1845 and whose end-date is a matter of debate among historians. I have written about this famine before, but in terms of the history of Irish nationalism instead of as a famine that echoed and illustrated other famines. By comparing this renowned event with other outbreaks of starvation, I hope to tell its tale anew, and – while not avoiding the causes, actions and ideas that made it – narrate it stripped of its former nationalist rhetoric.

The second hunger is a more hidden famine than the other two, one I encountered first in the writings of Amartya Sen. Though less well-known and submerged by competing accidents of history, it was the even more deadly famine that . . .

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