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

Christopher Booker , Richard North
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 13.99
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Book Description

1 Feb 2009
From salmonella in eggs to BSE, from the Millennium Bug to bird 'flu, from DDT to passive smoking, from asbestos to global warming, 'scares' have become one of the most conspicuous and damaging features of our modern world. This book for the first time tells the inside story of each of the major scares of the past two decades, showing how they have followed a remarkably consistent pattern. It analyses the crucial role played in each case by scientists who have misread or manipulated the evidence; by the 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 a colossal price, which may run into billions or even hundreds of billions of pounds. The book culminates in a chillingly detailed account of the story behind what it shows has become the greatest scare of them all: the belief that the world faces disaster through man-made global warming. In an epilogue the authors compare our credulity in falling for scares to mass-hysterias of previous ages such as the post-mediaeval 'witch craze', describing our time as a 'new age of superstition'.

Frequently Bought Together

Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth + The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is The Obsession With `Climate Change` Turning Out To Be The Most Costly Scientific Blunder In History?
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Product details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; Reprint edition (1 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826476201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826476203
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"'A very news-worthy subject, with Booker and North providing some much-needed common sense commentary.' --Publishing News"

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
.....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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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The scare phenomenon 7 Dec 2007
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan 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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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Journalist Christopher Booker and former food safety consultant Dr Richard North have written a fascinating book on the rash of scares in the last 20 years. They earlier worked together on a brilliant book on the European Union The great deception.

They study the food scares - salmonella in eggs (1988-9), listeria in cheese, BSE in beef (1996-9) and dioxins in Belgian poultry (1999). Other scares they discuss include the Millennium bug (1999), DDT, the satanic child abuse mania (1987-94), lead, passive smoking, asbestos, SARS, bird flu (2005) (which the World Health Organisation absurdly called `the greatest single health challenge'), organophosphorus, and global warming.

They note that banning DDT has killed two million people every year, because DDT had cut malaria deaths by 95%. The EU backed the ban on DDT.

Organophosphorus, used in sheep dip, was `MAFF-approved', and an HSE leaflet warned of its `cumulative toxicity' leading to `irreversible' damage to the nervous system, akin to ME and Gulf War Syndrome (which also never happened, according to the MoD). The government suppressed the whole story, because it was directly responsible.

A review in the Independent claimed that their chapter on global warming had scarcely any scientific references. It has 117, including important articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the Journal of Geophysical Research, Energy and Environment, the International Journal of Climatology, six from Nature and five from Science. The authors expose as exaggerated the claims of climate doom. They point out that historically rising CO2 levels are associated both with rising and falling temperatures and that the overall ice mass of the Antarctic, which has 89.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 2 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 18 months ago 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 Sep 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 Sep 2010 by M. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough
As you'll note from the mixed nature of the reviews on amazon here, this book investigates areas of heated debate. Read more
Published on 30 May 2010 by Bonzi
3.0 out of 5 stars How did this happen?
I bought this book at the same time as AirCon (reviewed separately)
I had known about it since I read a review by Clarkson some years ago in the ?SundayTimes? Read more
Published on 24 May 2010 by Mark C
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Deniers" Are Often Right!
This is, arguably, one of the most important books of the past few years. The authors detail a number of scares and scams which have been pushed by politicians, bureaucrats and,... Read more
Published on 4 May 2010 by Ian Millard
5.0 out of 5 stars Scared to Death
Very detailed, very interesting, and very probably correct.
A fascinating read, I would highly recommend it. Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2009 by Arnold Bennett
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