Hats off to Nancy Nugent for tackling an uncompelling subject (save for students and sufferers) with such felicity and intelligence that she makes your soft underbelly a thing of surpassing interest. Chapter by chapter she follows the route of ingestion through digestion and excretion, lucidly describing normal events, major complaints, symptoms, and treatments. Some ills are exotic--conditions of ""achalasia"" (when food sticks in the esophagus), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)--and some are all too familiar: gastritis, peptic ulcer, colitis, ""turistas,"" motion sickness. She is especially to be congratulated for simple definitions (how many people can accurately define ""ulcer""?), for maintaining a seasoned objectivity about the latest theories (such as genetic origins for ulcerative colitis) and for a neat intermeshing of psychogenic factors with organic causes or predispositions. Among interesting, unexplained phenomena: why women get morning sickness, why ulcers are almost unheard of in pregnancy, why some people are super stress-resistant. Among favorite new words: borborygmus--a lovely onomatopoeic description of stomach rumbling. Highly satisfactory reading that should bring relief to sufferers and solid information to the general reader.