Here is the engaging story of the scientific quest to understand and control body weight. Covering the entire twentieth century, Robert Pool chronicles the evolving blame-game for fatfrom being a result of undisciplined behavior to subconscious conflicts, physiological disease, and environmental excess. Readers in today's weight-conscious society will be surprised to learn that being overweight was actually encouraged by doctors and popular health magazines up until the 1930's. Henceforth began decades of research that subsequently explained appetite, metabolism, and the development of fat cells. Pool effectively reanimates the colorful characters, curious experiments, brilliant insights and wrong turns that led to contemporary scientific understanding of America's epidemic. While he acknowledges the advances in the pharmacological fight against flab, he underscores that the real problem is not losing the weight but keeping it off. Drugs offer a quick fix, but America society must remedy the unhealthy daily environments of its cities and towns. And those who have struggled with their weight and have experienced the yo-yo cycle of dieting must understand the underlying science of body weight that makes that makes their struggle more than a question of willpower.