Book Note, 'Famine' by Cormac Ó Gráda

5 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2017

See all articles by William J. Moon

William J. Moon

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Date Written: March 11, 2011


No discussion of access to food is complete without examining famine - an extreme case of food scarcity that has haunted human civilizations throughout history. In addition to creating victims of hunger related deaths and plague, famine leaves an inerasable mark on human culture and community. Cormac Ó Gráda’s new book, 'Famine: A Short History', historicizes famine by studying cases from the earliest civilizations to more recent ones in North Korea, Malawi, and Niger. The book’s fresh contribution to the literature stems both from the impressive bank of world history that Ó Gráda concisely synthesizes, and from his use of non-conventional methodologies. While the book's relatively short length prevents Ó Gráda from deeply examining the future of famine, his work is an extraordinary addition to the famine literature and should be of much interest to both consumers and producers of famine scholarship.

Keywords: famine, access to food, North Korea, international aid, food availability decline theory

Suggested Citation

Moon, William J., Book Note, 'Famine' by Cormac Ó Gráda (March 11, 2011). Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, Vol. 13, p. 537, 2010, Available at SSRN:

William J. Moon (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1
United States

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