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The oldest cure in the world : adventures in the art and science of fasting
2022
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Brief Descriptions

In this fascinating look at the science behind the counterintuitive concept of going without food for our health, a journalist tells the history of fasting, from the ancient world to the present, and introduces us to the people who are reviving this long-lost remedy that helps the body heal itself. 15,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"From the earliest days of humanity and the Greek fathers of medicine through Christianity's "fasting saints" and a nineteenth-century doctor whose stupendous forty-day fast on a New York City stage inaugurated the modern era of therapeutic fasting, Hendricks takes readers on a rich and comprehensive tour. Threaded throughout are Hendricks's own adventures in fasting, including a stay at a luxurious fasting clinic in Germany and in a more spartan one closer to home in Northern California"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

A journalist delves into the history, science, and practice of fasting, an ancient cure enjoying a dynamic resurgence.

When should we eat, and when shouldn’t we? The answers to these simple questions are not what you might expect. As Steve Hendricks shows in The Oldest Cure in the World, stop eating long enough, and you’ll set in motion cellular repairs that can slow aging and prevent and reverse diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Fasting has improved the lives of people with epilepsy, asthma, and arthritis, and has even protected patients from the worst of chemotherapy’s side effects.

But for such an elegant and effective treatment, fasting has had a surprisingly long and fraught history. From the earliest days of humanity and the Greek fathers of medicine through Christianity’s “fasting saints” and a nineteenth-century doctor whose stupendous forty-day fast on a New York City stage inaugurated the modern era of therapeutic fasting, Hendricks takes readers on a rich and comprehensive tour.

Threaded throughout are Hendricks’s own adventures in fasting, including a stay at a luxurious fasting clinic in Germany and in a more spartan one closer to home in Northern California. This is a playful, insightful, and persuasive exploration of our bodies and when we should—and should not—feed them.

- (Grand Central Pub)

A journalist delves into the history, science, and practice of fasting, an ancient cure enjoying a dynamic resurgence.

When should we eat, and when shouldn’t we? The answers to these simple questions are not what you might expect. As Steve Hendricks shows in The Oldest Cure in the World, stop eating long enough, and you’ll set in motion cellular repairs that can slow aging and prevent and reverse diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Fasting has improved the lives of people with epilepsy, asthma, and arthritis, and has even protected patients from the worst of chemotherapy’s side effects. 

But for such an elegant and effective treatment, fasting has had a surprisingly long and fraught history. From the earliest days of humanity and the Greek fathers of medicine through Christianity’s “fasting saints” and a nineteenth-century doctor whose stupendous forty-day fast on a New York City stage inaugurated the modern era of therapeutic fasting, Hendricks takes readers on a rich and comprehensive tour. 

Threaded throughout are Hendricks’s own adventures in fasting, including a stay at a luxurious fasting clinic in Germany and in a more spartan one closer to home in Northern California. This is a playful, insightful, and persuasive exploration of our bodies and when we should—and should not—feed them.

- (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.)

Author Biography

Steve Hendricks is a freelance reporter and the author of two previous books, one of which, The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country, made several best-of-the-year lists. He has written for Harper’s, Outside, Slate, and the Washington Post and lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, a professor of family law, and his dog, a border collie cross.

- (Grand Central Pub)

Steve Hendricks is a freelance reporter and the author of two previous books, one of which, The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country, made several best-of-the-year lists. He has written for Harper’s, Outside, Slate, and the Washington Post and lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, a professor of family law, and his dog, a border collie cross.

- (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.)

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Reviews Via Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Fasting, long regarded as being "on the wrong side of respectability," deserves serious consideration as a medical treatment, argues journalist Hendricks (The Unquiet Grave) in this thought-provoking survey. Hendricks writes that the practice has been shown to help with illnesses as varied as asthma, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraines. But it's "simply too counterintuitive to think not eating could make you healthier," and the medical community has yet to embrace it. That's a mistake, Hendricks insists: it's cheaper than drugs and has fewer side effects, and he touts it as an "astoundingly and variously useful" method that's been hiding in plain sight for millennia. The author weaves a fascinating personal narrative (fasting helped his idiopathic hypersomnia) with a comprehensive history of the practice, from prehistoric humans who fasted from necessity up to modern-day clinics that use it. While enthusiastic, Hendricks is careful not to oversell fasting's benefits (there's much it "cannot do, no matter how many incautious boosters say otherwise"), and he pulls no punches when highlighting flaws in research, as with studies that emphasize "profit rather than health." His levelheaded, irreverent approach and sharp reporting set the book apart. The result is a winning mix of captivating storytelling and fascinating science. Agent: Max Sinsheimer, Sinsheimer Literary. (Sept.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

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