Written in accessible but medically accurate prose, Anorexia provides a detailed explanation of how the diagnosis of anorexia is made, common physical and personality characteristics of those affected by the illness, and both short and long-term complications.

Anorexia takes the discussion a step further than similar books on the subject by placing the disease in context with a broad survey of the history of self-starvation from Antiquity to the present, and it tackles the difficult question of whether anorexia nervosa existed before the 19th century or is a uniquely modern disease. The book evaluates in detail the social, economic and cultural environments within which self-starvation has occurred historically, and it analyzes competing theories of the disease's origins--including sociocultural, developmental, biochemical, and genetic hypotheses. The book also provides coverage of several often overlooked topics, such as the incidence of anorexia among young men, and it makes use of the personal narrative of an anorexic throughout to give the reader some sense of what it feels like to have anorexia and what someone with anorexia may be thinking.


Every disease has a story to tell: about how it started long ago and began to disable or even take the lives of its innocent victims, about the way it hurts us, and about how we are trying to stop it. in this Biographies of Disease series, the authors tell the stories of the diseases that we have come to know and dread.

The stories of these diseases have all of the components that make for great literature. There is incredible drama played out in real-life scenes from the past, present, and future. You’ll read about how men and women of science stumbled trying to save the lives of those they aimed to protect. Turn the pages and you’ll also learn about the amazing success of those who fought for health and won, often saving thousands of lives in the process.

If you don’t want to be a health professional or research scientist now, when you finish this book you may think differently. the men and women in this book are heroes who often risked their own lives to save or improve ours. This is the biography of a disease, but it is also the story of real people who made incredible sacrifices to stop it in its tracks.

Julie K. Silver, M.D. Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation . . .

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