I have enjoyed previous books by Fred Pearce, especially "When the rivers run dry". This book is a mish mash affair, the author dotting around the world trying to find the background to where all that makes up his "stuff" comes from. Some of the stories are exteremely thought provoking - watch out for an impending world banana shortage by the way - and I learnt a lot about eco related issues that I hadn't seen anywhere else, but the book itself somehow left me a bit cold. It appears to be a hurriedly put together collection of shorter pieces - at one stage the same bits of information are repeated on consecutive pages, and the M & S brand is Blue Harbour, not Blue Horizon. These are minor quibbles but serve to undermine the message being put across. I am not sure if this is meant to be a travel book, a collection of political essays or an anti-capitalist rant. No it's definitely not a rant, because Mr Pearce comes across as a genuinely likeable sort of bloke with very similar tastes as mine in matters beer and whisky related! And therein perhaps lies the problem. A book that flits from discussions on whisky production, to coffee production in Kenya, to the sweatshops of Bangladesh is almost by definition going to either be too detailed to read or to be a bit of a hit and miss affair.
The bottom line, and the message of this book is, be aware of all, and Mr Pearce means ALL, the costs that go into subsidising our western way of life and ask yourself if you are prepared to pay them, because ultimately what ever you/we pay, our children will be paying an awful lot more.