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Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I purchased the authors' first joint book, "The Mad Officials", some dozen years ago after hearing Richard North speak, very entertainingly, on the excesses of environmental health officers. I was greatly entertained by that book's humorous, "if you didn't laugh you would cry" style. This is a much more scholarly work, although, thankfully, still flavoured by a wry sense of amusement at the irrational behaviour of many of those who would tell us how to live.
The book's longest chapter is on global warming, the biggest of these scares and one that is still gaining momentum.Read more ›
This book is not about denial. Booker and North do not try to deny or trivialise AIDS, BSE, smoking related diseases, E coli, Listeria or any of the issues raised. Indeed these are major issues that require a well thought out and appropriate response.
The authors take issue with the scientists who push their own research and exclude any notion that alternate research might show something to the contrary. They round on lazy jounalists who do not research facts for themselves and compete for the most sensational headline.
Mostly however, they condemn politicians who settle on the current orthodoxy and take disproportionate measures, cost millions or even billions to the taxpayer and yet fail to do any good whatsoever (what the authors call 'taking a sledgehammer and missing the nut')
What is most telling is that once the scare has been proved to be groundless, the powers that the authorities have taken for themselves to solve the problem are never given back.
An excellent read, concise and well referenced. A copy should be sent to evey politician bureucrat and pompous town hall official in the land.
In this riveting book, Christopher Booker and Richard North take a deeper look into recent scares and reveal an intriguing pattern:
- The scare is usually based on genuine concern that some chemical/bacteria or phenomenon has endangered human life
- Thereafter, the evidence for the scare is blown out of proportion
- The media get on board and without bothering to check the evidence drive a mass hysteria campaign
- Various interest groups get on board on one side of the argument or the other. (They authors call them 'resisters' and 'pushers')
- The pushers - usually scientists - do all in their power to frustrate the legitimate views of dissenters, including ad hominem attacks
- Politicians, who don't want to seem out of touch, respond disproportionately
- The result is overkill and ruined lives.
The authors do an excellent job of dissecting the evidence in past scares such as asbestos poisoning, salmonella and BSE in the UK to reveal a disturbing pattern of behaviour on the part of scientists, governments and the media.
However, Messrs North and Brooke are less exacting when they describe the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Millennium Bug "scares". As an African, I beg to differ that HIV is a not a scare. What do you call disease that wipes out the productive class of a developing country?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First we had Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds in 1842, then we have this excellent work as its modern incarnation. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rob Austin
This book is so interesting and informative. I bought another copy for my teenage grand-daughter so that she won't grow up believing everything she's told but will keep an open... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Monny
Christopher Booker fantastic - read his column in the Telegraph on Sunday, learn some truths and re-orientate your brain!Published 15 months ago by Phil Roberts
I've just reread this book, and am even more impressed than on the first read 5 years ago. Like any good scientific work, it not only presents the data on several decades of moral... Read morePublished 19 months ago by JPMT
This gets 5 stars for clarity, timeliness and accuracy. Governments worldwide seem to stagger from crisis to crisis as if the general public need something to worry about. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Taiga
A really interesting read. The governments have made statements about things that they haven`t a clue about. This book will explain a lot of scams.Published on 28 Jan. 2014 by Ann Isherwood
Brilliant book showing the power of the media and a frightening example of how 2 plus 2 make 5 !Published on 16 Oct. 2012 by Bryan Walker
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