21 December 2000

Publisher withdraws ‘River Kwai’ diet book

The River Kwai Diet was a short-lived fad that achieved notoriety when public opinion forced a leading publisher to pulp all copies of a book based upon it. The damage-limitation exercise that followed was reported in the Guardian

Alec Guinness in The Bridge on the River Kwai


A leading publisher has announced the withdrawal of The River Kwai Diet, a slimming regime based on the meagre rations endured by Allied prisoners of the Japanese who built the infamous bridge over that river during World War Two. Porcupine Press says it decided to remove all copies from bookshops in response to public pressure. ‘We apologise unreservedly for any offence caused, particularly to any surviving prisoners of war,’ said senior press officer Ali Cookson. ‘The book is a serious attempt to look at the potential benefits to be gained from extreme dietary conditions, and is in no way intended to trivialise the experiences of those unfortunate enough to have endured it against their will.’ She added that the experience had been a steep learning curve for all involved.

Our Media Correspondent Joanna Middleton writes: Porcupine Press is a relative newcomer to the world of publishing, but it has enjoyed two spectacular successes already. A Sock Is a Shoe That Doesn’t Know What To Do by Dr Gideon Gray was the surprise hit of 1999, and went on to become the UK’s biggest-selling self-help guide. Its blend of do-it-yourself analysis and motivational techniques has inspired numerous imitators, and Dr Gray is soon to launch his own digital television channel devoted to his theories. In 2000, Porcupine won a bidding war for journalist Rita Carver’s first novel, A Woman’s Right To Choos. Subtitled Confessions of a Heelholic, this fluffy romantic comedy about a middle-aged journalist ‘addicted’ to Jimmy Choo shoes was voted Book of The Year by female style journalists and is now being made into a film. Her forthcoming book Fashionably Latte, co-written with London socialites Paul Sorene and Rupert Youngman, is expected to break all sales records.

One Response to “Publisher withdraws ‘River Kwai’ diet book”

  1. tim says:

    Thin stuff! As they used to say in Kanchanaburi.