The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle against Poverty in Asia

The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle against Poverty in Asia

by Nick Cullather

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Cullather has written an engrossing history of how the United States government, along with private philanthropies like the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, aimed to win the hearts and bodies of rural Asia in the post World War II decades by crafting strategies to develop and modernize agriculture and the peasant’s way of life. He explains how America used foreign aid, modernization theory, nutrition, statistics, and technology, to try to reconstruct the social and political order of the decolonized and disadvantaged countries in the region. Initially the issue of how best to intervene in Asia’s rural countryside was contentious, with clashing visions of development and humanitarian aid being argued throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Ultimately, one strategy displaced all the others—the “Green Revolution” and the ability to feed millions through the miracle of genetically designed dwarf strains of grain and rice. Cullather provides a detailed explanation of how this policy of feeding Asian peasants became the single strategy of “progress” adopted by the US rather than industrialization or land reform. As current controversy swirls about how best to aid Africa in the crisis of nation-building, famine, and a poverty-stricken peasantry, the story of the U.S. interventions in Asia become starkly relevant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674058828
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
File size: 635 KB

About the Author

Nick Cullather is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University.

Table of Contents

Contents Illustrations Preface Introduction 1. The World Food Problem 2. Mexico’s Way Out 3. A Continent of Peasants 4. We Shall Release the Waters 5. A Very Big, Very Poor Country 6. A Parable of Seeds 7. You Can’t Eat Steel 8. The Meaning of Famine 9. The Conquest of Hunger 10. Present at the Re-creation Abbreviations Notes Archives Index

What People are Saying About This

Lloyd Gardner

Nick Cullather's pathbreaking book takes readers on a journey of understanding about the failures of the "development" model so beloved by American policymakers from before the Cold War to the present. It may well become famous as a turning point about how to think about world poverty and to stimulate new answers to it.

Lloyd Gardner, author of Three Kings: the Rise of an American Empire in the Middle East After World War II

Paul A. Kramer

A pioneering and transformative work that tracks the politics of hunger from the invention of the calorie to Asia's Cold War ideological battlegrounds, The Hungry World explores, with a sharp, lively sense of irony, American scientists' and policy-makers' relentless and often futile efforts to transmute the conflictual politics of rural deprivation into a technocratic politics of agricultural production.

Paul A. Kramer, author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines

Melvyn Leffler

Facing insurgencies, U.S. officials and expert advisers want to fight famine, alleviate hunger, and ameliorate the conditions on which terrorism thrives. Nick Cullather's new book -- thoughtful, erudite, provocative -- is a vivid and timely explication of the hopes and disappointments of past efforts to modernize and develop.

Melvyn Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War

Michael Adas

Nick Cullather's exploration of the critical linkages between power politics, scientific and technical assistance, famine alarms and schemes to increase food production is one of the most original and engaging books to date on the impact of the cold war on the emerging states of the developing world.

Michael Adas, author of Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission

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