Book Review: The Last Hunger Season by Roger Thurow

Imagine spending a year living among the poorest of the world’s poor: the African farmer. That’s what award-winning journalist Roger Thurow did beginning in the winter of 2011. He wrote the awe-inspiring book: The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change.

The Last Hunger Season is a well-told story of scarcity and hope. The author chooses four farmers, Leonida, Rasoa, Zipporah, and Francis. He takes the time to understand their situation and challenges as he follows their progress from planting to harvest. Education is one of the values populates the farmer’s stories. They believe that the cycle of poverty will end by educating their children. We learn from the author’s observation of Rasoa and her husband, “They had both put all their chips on education, betting that somehow they could cheat the hunger season.”


How to cheat the hunger season is the prevalent theme throughout the book. We get a good history of the hunger problem and also an up-to-date report on the current politics of hunger in the United States. Former congressman Tony Hall led a successful hunger fast protesting proposed cuts in poverty-focused foreign aid. “More than 80,000 appeals arrived in Washington. They contained a simple message: It is wrong, morally and religiously; to focus our budget cuts on the people who are already hurting and make them hurt more.“

There’s actually a solution to the hunger problem that’s working. It comes in the form of One Acre Fund. OAF is an innovative social enterprise organization. “The ‘social aspect’ was to banish the hunger season; the ‘enterprise’ part was to do it as an efficient business. ” We learn in his book about its founder Andrew Youn. He came up with the idea while he was pursuing his MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business Management. His operation provides basic farm inputs, training, and access to markets to poor farm families in Africa. It’s an astounding success.


You’ll read about courage, despair, and always an unwavering faith in God and man to bring about a “Last Hunger Season.” One particularly touching scene was described taking place at the local church in Lutacho. The One Acre Fund farmers gathered for their first training session. “A banner draped on the wall behind the simple altar proclaimed, ‘To this day, I have had help from God and so I stand here testifying to both great and small.’”

It’s one thing to read about people who are hungry. It’s quite another to find a book that tells a story so compelling, and uplifting. “The Last Hunger Season” does a good job of providing the reader with new information in an interesting way. Better still, it transfers the hope of the four One Acre Fund farm families, to the reader. There’s none among us who can’t use just a little more hope. It’s an inspiration to read “The Last Hunger Season.” Thanks be to God!





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