‘Many Mouths is an absorbing study of when, why and how the modern British state sought to feed its most vulnerable subjects. Durbach's major achievement is to show us how the state was literally made manifest – locally, nationally and imperially – through the practices used to feed people. This compelling book should be read by all those interested in the politics of food and its central place in modern British history.'
James Vernon - University of California, Berkeley
‘Many Mouths is a sweeping, richly textured, and important study of government feeding that takes us from the Dickensian workhouse of the 1830s to the debates surrounding the cups of welfare orange juice served to expectant mothers and children after the Second World War. Throughout, we see how food (and drink) is good to think with and to govern with as well.'
Erika Rappaport - University of California, Santa Barbara
‘Many Mouths is a magisterial study of the complex history of British state feeding from the 1830s to the 1960s. Durbach provides a compelling analysis of how the distribution of food is an elemental field through which power relations were (and are) articulated and contested. This is an extremely important book.'
Christopher Otter - Ohio State University
‘… goes back to the 19th century to examine some of the origins of our current ‘food system’ and how embedded attitudes to food - and of who is deserving of feeding - have shaped policy to the present day … casts an interesting light on the way in which people’s relationships with food became entwined with their relationships to the British state.’
Source: Financial Times
‘… the author is to be praised for moving beyond the conventional top-down focus on planners and administrators and conveying the voice of the recipients of relief.’
M. J. O'Brien
‘… Durbach’s study provides compelling evidence that there are certain irreducible realities about food itself that resist even well meaning attempts at ameliorating undernutrition no matter what form it may take.’
Travis A. Weisse
Source: Bulletin of the History of Medicine