The Oldest Problem

Martin Caparros


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"Nothing less than astonishing..."—Booklist (starred review)

From a renowned international journalist comes a galvanizing international bestseller about mankind's oldest, most persistent, and most brutal problem—world hunger.

There are now over 800 million starving people in the world. An average of 25,000 men and women, and in particular children, perish from hunger every day. Yet we produce enough food to feed the entire human population one-and-a-half times over.
So why is it that world hunger remains such a deadly problem?

In this crucial and inspiring work, award-winning author Martín Caparrós travels the globe in search of an answer. His investigation brings him to Africa and the Indian subcontinent where he witnesses starvation first-hand; to Chicago where he documents the greed of corporate food distributors; and to Buenos Aires where he accompanies trash scavengers in search of something to eat.

An international bestseller when it first appeared, this first-ever English language edition has been updated by Caparrós to consider whether conditions that have improved or worsened since the book's European publication.

With its deep reflections and courageous journalism, Caparrós has created a powerful and empathic work that remains committed to ending humankind's longest ongoing crisis.


Martin Caparros:
Martín Caparrós is one of the Spanish-speaking world's most preeminent and influential writers. The author of fifteen award-winning books, including works of fiction and journalism, he is currently A. D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. He also writes a regular column for the Spanish edition of The New York Times. He currently lives in New York and Madrid. 

Katherine Silver is an award-winning literary translator. Her most recent and forthcoming publications include works by María Sonia Cristoff, César Aira, Julio Cortázar, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Ramón Ribeyro. She is the former director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC), and the author of Echo Under Story (What Books Press 2019).