Review of The Battle against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance, and the World Bank

Review of The Battle against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance, and the World Bank, by Devi Sridhar New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 256 pp. Hardcover: $85.00, ISBN: 9780199549962

Reviewed by Jeremy M. Bennett and Omer Gokcekus

For over four decades, there has been recognition that hunger represents a serious development problem. Since the 1970s, addressing this issue has been a major concern of the World Bank and the international development community at-large. The Bank has touted the Tamil Nadu Integrated Nutrition Project (TINP) in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, as a program where its efforts have made a substantive and positive impact upon this issue. In The Battle Against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance, and the World Bank, Devi Sridhar critiques the effectiveness of this program and the underlying intellectual framework. Sridhar argues that the Bank’s efforts to tout TINP as a success were over-optimistic, and, moreover, were marked by a philosophy on how to address malnutrition that did not adequately account for how social realities and context specific circumstances affect this complex problem.