I was looking forward to reading this book knowing Fred Pearce's articles from the New Scientist. I hoped this book would be an un-biased, cool, calm clinical analysis of "Climategate" and the various views although I had concerns about the Guardian being the publisher with its pro-AGW bias would require a certain emphasis from the author and also the speed to press might have limited any in depth analysis.
Part 1 overall was generally balanced and set the scene reasonably well dwelling some of the players (MacIntire, Santer, CRU, Briffa, Mann, McKitrick, Jones and others) and thoughts such as the early idea about a possible ice age. Also covered were the doubts many scientists had about the "hockey stick" but which got submerged during the "laagering".
However even then a bias was appearing, one example being that of the respective web sites "scientists" (Real Climate) and "sceptics" (Climate Audit) with paragraphs for Real Climate site putting over their point of view and denigrating the "strident -excitable less fastidious fans" of Climate Audit (Pearce's words).
Part 2 was characterised, in my opinion, by innuendo and digs at those called sceptics or contrarians (once known in earlier times as heretics when the sun went around the earth). Professor Lindzen one of the world's top atmospheric scientist had "disagreeable friends". This might be true but has no part in this book. Any links, however vague, between the so called sceptics or contrarians and "big oil", think tanks (always right wing) and shared careers/campuses were highlighted but the funding, composition, mutual careers/campuses etc of the "hockey team" coterie was not.
Only very briefly covered was the interference by the "hockey team" in blocking journal articles they didn't like, subverting the peer review process, removing journal editors they objected to, writing the IPCC Action Reports and Chapters themselves etc to name but a few of their activities.
Part 3 was a bit more balanced and had some excellent investigations over the hacking timeline and a whodunit but a pro-AGW bias became present as the chapters progressed.
Reference was made to Gore's "hugely popular" film but no mention of the 34 errors found in the US (such as Amanda Bryd's polar bears) or the UK law suit. "Briefly notorious" was the only mention of Deakin's Channel 4 film.
Bloggers (e.g. sceptics) was used mainly as a pejorative and terms like McCarthyism, Barbarians at the Gates and Crowd Pleasers had no place in a reasoned analysis. Why mention that someone's fathers was associated with Northern Rock? The BBC was criticised for being sceptical...incredible for a government mouthpiece.
They the, poor put upon, hounded, "Hockey Team" didn't really do much wrong, apart from silly worded emails, was the overtone it seemed to me.
Overall I was very disappointed in this book, it was promising in many parts but Mr Pearce let his bias override his analysis. I cannot recommend this book to anyone without them having read Montford's "The Hockey Stick Illusion" a far more analytical, although a much heavier read, first. That book gives far more insight into the activities of the team, other players, papers, investigations, data veracity etc and why Climategate had the effect it has on the reputation of science than this book.