"Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America" Book Review by Professor Victor Verb

"Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America"
An Examination of Stephen Nissenbaum's "Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America: Sylvester Graham and Health Reform".
# 100305 | 976 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Dec 24, 2007 in Medical and Health (Nutrition and Exercise) , Nutrition (Food) , History (General)

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In the early 20th century, Sylvester Graham developed a dietary regimen that sought to strike a balance between emotions, naturalism, and spirituality. While many of his concepts, particularly concerning sexual excesses contributing to ill health, have since been debunked, some of these approaches to health maintenance have been refined and expanded in the years since and remain influential today. This paper provides a review of Nissenbaum's book, "Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America: Sylvester Graham and Health Reform:", as well as the peer-reviewed and scholarly literature, to determine what Graham's concepts involved, the social reform efforts that emerged during this period in American history, and the impact that these trends had on the American consciousness. A summary of the research and salient findings are presented in the conclusion.


From the Paper:

"The main purpose of Stephen Nissenbaum's book is to describe Sylvester Graham's impact on the healthcare reforms taking place during this period of American history. In this book, Nissenbaum links the beginnings of physiological theory and the new commercial economy of Jacksonian American with the later Victorian healthcare reforms. Like his Kellogg cereal counterpart in the movie, "Wellville," Graham was responsible for bringing the wholesome graham cracker snack to the American public, and ultimately creating a multi-billion dollar cereal industry in the United States. The American obsession with "six-pack abs" did not start with Graham, but he was the creator of the graham cracker and believed that dietary and sexual excesses were the primary causes of disease. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Engs, Ruth Clifford. Clean Living Movements: American Cycles of Health Reform. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2000.
  • Nissenbaum, Stephen. Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America: Sylvester Graham and Health Reform. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.
  • Rosenberg, Charles. (October 1981). Review. American Historical Review, 86(4): 923.
  • Winter, Thomas. (2002). Graham, Sylvester -- 1794-1851, Health Reformer and Minister. Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinity. December 1, 2005. [Online]. Available: http://www.referenceworld.com/mosgroup/masculinity/graham.html.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America" (2007, December 24) Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/sex-diet-and-debility-in-jacksonian-america-100305/

MLA Format

""Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America"" 24 December 2007. Web. 14 October. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/sex-diet-and-debility-in-jacksonian-america-100305/>