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Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Booker , Richard North
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Modern society has regularly, in recent years, been gripped by a series of headline making "scares" - from mad cow disease to SARS -- which have become one of the most conspicuous and damaging features of our modern world. This book is the first to tell the inside story of each of the major scares of the past two decades, showing how they have followed a remarkably consistent pattern. It analyzes the crucial role played in each case by scientists how have misread or manipulated the evidence; by media and lobbyists who eagerly promote the scare without regard to the facts; and finally by the politicians and officials who come up with an absurdly disproportionate response, leaving us all to pay the price, which may run into billions of dollars. Scared to Death culminates in a chillingly detailed account of the story behind what the authors believe has become the greatest scare of them all: the belief that the world faces disaster through manmade global warming. In a final chapter, the authors take on its proponents such as Al Gore in a devastating critique of the consensus on global warming and its consequences.

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Product Description


The book is well researched and well written, as well as fascinating to read, with extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter. ... This book would be helpful for an academic library collection. It could be used to counterbalance the viewpoint of the media and other sources. --The Christian Librarian

About the Author

Christopher Booker was one of the founders of Private Eye and its first editor. He has a weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph and has published several books. Richard North is a political analyst and was formerly a consultant on public health and food safety. He has co-authored several books with Christopher Booker.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1802 KB
  • Print Length: 509 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0826486142
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum; 1 edition (17 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ARH7K36
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,352 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The scare phenomenon 7 Dec. 2007
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Booker and North posit a "scare phenomenon" by analysing a series of scares, starting with HIV/AIDS and salmonella in the 80s, though BSE, the Y2K bug and passive smoking amongst others, to the global warming scare of today. They identify a pattern that starts with scientists making exaggerated claims based on inadequate evidence, becoming so obsessed with their theories that they manufacture evidence to support them while excluding consideration of contradictory data, and then actively suppress those who oppose their "new orthodoxy". The media, finding such scares make good copy, further hype them up, often finding scientists to speak in support of them whose own areas of research were quite different. Politicians, unable to distinguish between good and bad science and reliant on officials who have in many cases become members of the new orthodoxy themselves, and faced with media hysteria, overreact under cover of the "precautionary principle" by implementing policies that are scientifically suspect and economically damaging.

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.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
.....then try reading the chapter on satanic child abuse when your children are in the same room watching the T.V. I did, and an icy chill went down my spine. Imagine at that point someone came into your house, took your children away, accused you of the most disgusting crimes and gagged any attempt you made to speak out. Orwell, Kafka? No. Cleveland, Rochdale and Nottingham in the Twentieth Century.
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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always question the data and/or evidence 8 Sept. 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We are all familiar with recent media-driven hysteria such as foot-and-mouth disease, BSE/madcow disease, dioxin poisoning in Belgium, child-abuse in the UK etc. The question is, what is the anatomy and the psychosis of such scares? What drives scares in today's enlightened, Post-religious modern Western society?

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?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good reading
Published 5 months ago by william roger holden
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Christopher Booker fantastic - read his column in the Telegraph on Sunday, learn some truths and re-orientate your brain!
Published 7 months ago by Phil Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves a Nobel Prize
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 more
Published 11 months ago by JPMT
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn ot recognise propaganda and manipulation !
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 more
Published 15 months ago by Taiga
5.0 out of 5 stars What a cover up
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 19 months ago by Ann Isherwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangers of the media
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
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm Scared!
It could of done without the epilogue to be honest which just repeated most of what I had just read and then touched lightly on subjects including religion and wars. Read more
Published on 8 Sept. 2011 by A. Parsons
4.0 out of 5 stars The scare phenomenon
The modern culture seems to demand someone to blame, compensation for effects, media attention and the notion that governments of every hue, simply by virtue of being in... Read more
Published on 25 Aug. 2011 by RR Waller
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting through the disinformation of the present age.
This book, clear and well-written, with references you can check out, provides an education for the age in which we live. Read more
Published on 4 Jan. 2011 by Dr. Michael J. Cross
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
Are you an independent thinker? Do you suspect that we are not being told the truth? Read this book and confirm your fears. Truly frightening and enlightening at the same time. Read more
Published on 27 Sept. 2010 by M. Davies
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