Three Famines: Starvation and Politics by Thomas Keneally – review | Books Witnessing famine comes as a visceral shock – the slow and silent evisceration of society, family and the human body itself. The Russian sociologist Pitrim Sorokin, survivor of the famine of the early 1920s in his home country, wrote in Man and Society in Calamity (1946) of starvation reducing man to "a naked animal upon the naked earth". His experience was of a communist famine, in which professors starved alongside peasants. More common is famine that singles out the poor. The economist and philosopher Amartya Sen, who lived through the 1943 Bengal famine as a young member of a prominent family that fed the destitute, opened his seminal book Poverty and Famines (1981) with the observation that famine is the phenomenon of some people not having enough food to eat, not of there not being enough food to eat.
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