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Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know
Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know
by Robert Paarlberg
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of breadth, but lacking in depth, 12 Aug 2010
Overall, I found Food Politics to be disappointing. Though it may serve as a reasonably informative introduction to both environmental and political science under-graduates alike, I found it to be somewhat deficient in significant areas and lacking factual parity in light of its implicit US-centric perspective and tone.

In terms of scope, the book is far too parochial with Paarlberg making no reference to fish, either in terms of global dietary significance, declining global fish stocks or the rise in fish farms and other nascent aquaculture food systems.

In addition, Paarlberg also neglects to include any notable information on water, either in terms agricultural usage or how water scarcity is becoming a significant regional/national/geopolitical issue and how water resources impact upon on food production. Food and water are clearly not mutually exclusive, and as such, research into one must surely acknowledge the significance of the other.

On Genetically Modified Organisms, Paarlberg asserts that European opposition to GMO technology is `disliked' on account that `most were developed by a U.S. multinational' (p168). The view that European opposition to GMOs is grounded in nothing more than corporate nationalism is at best contentious and at worst, erroneous.

Crops targeted by GM corporations for transgenic modification are the foods by which a significant portion of the global population lives by (rice, wheat, barley etc). These food crops are known as monocotyledons and are organisms which rely on the wind for pollination. As pollen dispersion from GM monocot crops cannot be controlled or anticipated, inasmuch that the pollen can be carried far and wide on prevailing winds, there is a danger that GM monocot crops will cross-pollinate with other non-GM monocot crops. For many, this represents a significant risk and one which could potentially carry irreversibly biological consequences.

Paarlberg also notes that Bt cotton technology is `in fact highly popular' in India to the extent that it has been performing `extremely well'. What he and other Green Revolution advocates neglect to mention is that Indians don't eat cotton. Indian agricultural land used for growing Bt cotton (a cash crop for export) is done so at the expense of food crops, food crops that could be used to feed India's poor. Furthermore, GM monoculture crops such as Bt cotton require massive inputs such as water, which results in developing countries not only losing valuable land to non-edible cash crops, but also the indirect export of that same countries water resources.

By all means purchase Food Politics. Paarlberg does, after all, hit all the relevant bases. However, for those interested in a more rigorous critical assessment of the real Politics of Food, and one written from the perspective of the impoverished south rather than the gluttonous north, then I would strongly urge you to purchase Vandana Shiva's powerful Soil Not Oil Soil Not Oil: Climate Change, Peak Oil and Food Insecurity
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2011 1:53 AM GMT

Total Representation: A New Electoral System for Modern Times
Total Representation: A New Electoral System for Modern Times
by Aharon Nathan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Overlooked Solution to Electoral Reform?, 1 Aug 2010
Formatting and irritating typo mistakes aside, I really enjoyed Aharon Nathan's Total Representation (TR). With Alternative Voting systems very much in the (UK) news of late, it's disheartening not to have heard either politicians or the media giving coverage or paying lip-service to the idea and merits of the Total Representation electoral system. In outlining TR, Nathan takes the time to trace the historical developments of the traditional First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral systems and, in doing so, draws attention the inherent flaws and general unfairness of FPTP systems, identified here as being most notably characterised by the amount of wasted votes generated in determining constituency winners. TR successfully addresses this imbalance between the total votes casts and parlimentary seats won.

Having outlined existing electoral systems, Nathan then goes on to explain how TR works with reference to both the UK Parlimentary system and the Israeli Knesset - Nathan having (as I recall) direct experience in both - and, having done so, he then cleverly explains how the problems associated with wasted votes etc can be sidestepped through the use of TR. He includes lots of statistical information through which he demonstrates how previous electoral results have played out and, crucially, also runs samples of how those same results would have played out under a TR electoral system. The results are compelling and serve to further substantiate his claims that TR is not only a more complete and efficient electoral voting system, but one which is inherently much fairer.

Personally speaking, as someone whose political beliefs are grounded within the principles of Ecologism, but who as a pragmatists recognizes that it remains unlikely that any Green Political impact will be made under the existing FPTP systems, I for one am very much a supporter of electoral reform. However, should any Green political impact be made over the coming years, I feel that it remains highly unlikely that such progress will come as a result of TR. More likely that the Alternative Voting system (see: Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do about It)will get the nod over TR. However, that doesn't mean that TR doesn't have a place in future electoral systems. It would just seem that no one country is prepared to become the ginuea pig and become the first country to impliment TR.

The Contours of American Politics: An Introduction
The Contours of American Politics: An Introduction
by Jon Roper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise introduction to American Political Theory, 8 Jan 2010
The Contours of American Politics proved itself to be a very accessible and clear in terms of guiding the reader through the primary characteristics of American Politics. Taking time to sketch the historical context which continues to frame contemporary American Politics, Roper lucidly outlines the broader political themes and ideals - from the early contested formation of the Union right through to the emegence of the civil rights movement and beyond - which have been so instrumental in shaping the politics of modern America.

Personally, should Roper produce a 2nd Ed., then I'd welcome a section or two on the process of political centralization among the two prevailing political ideologies and, perhaps, a section outlining the significance of US-Israeli political relations in contemporary American Political Discourse.

Keep Talking: Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)
Keep Talking: Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)
by Professor Dr Friederike Klippel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.64

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Purchase for any Language Instructor, 9 Jun 2009
I own about 20 or so of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teaching and while they all have their own particular strengths and merits, Friederike Klippel's Keep Talking is definitely one of my top three of the series. Both my students (Korean and of all ages) and I have enjoyed and benefited from a considerable number of the activity ideas in Keep Talking.

I've used the activities extensively in both classrooms of thirty and in one-to-one situations with privates. Aside from the sheer number of activities on offer here, a large number of them have supplementary materials included and which are easily photocopied, meaning you can literally select, copy and go.

While it wouldn't be fair to say that the activities in Keep Talking can underpin entire lessons by themselves, what they can do is substantially reinforce a wide range of English grammar points, but with the added benefit of doing so whilst engaging a number of different learning styles, especially visual and (in places) kinesthetic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2011 12:47 PM BST

Grammar for English Language Teachers: With Exercises and a Key
Grammar for English Language Teachers: With Exercises and a Key
by Martin Parrott
Edition: Paperback

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb English/EFL Teachers Grammar Reference Book., 23 April 2007
An excellent resource, which all teachers of the English language, EFL or otherwise, should give serious consideration to. Every grammatical point is extensively covered in detail (514 pages) with each area of grammar being explained expansively and broken down in it's component parts, which further outlines specific teaching points such as construction and use.

The format of the book is also excellent with an abundance of clear sub-headings, which include Key Considerations, What Is..., Consolidation Exercises, and Difficulties For Learners sections. The layout is also good and easy on the reader with large sections of text broken up with tables and bullet pointed lists and examples.

Most serious English language teachers will probably own more than one grammar refrence book, while others, such as new teachers, may only own a single book. Either way, and regardless of which category you should fall into, this book should be given serious consdideration to anyone looking to invest in a good quality grammar reference book.

Grammar Practice Activities: A Practical Guide for Teachers (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)
Grammar Practice Activities: A Practical Guide for Teachers (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)
by Penny Ur
Edition: Paperback

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Consistent and in keeping with the excellent Cambridge Handbook series, 23 April 2007
This book is packed with interesting, easy to follow and simple (yet effective) grammar based classroom activities. All the major grammar points (tenses, conditionals, modals, articles etc) are included with each containing a number of different exercises covering a range of different learning abilities. Most exercises contain illustrations of some description meaning you can knock out good quality activities quickly and at short notice.

The Cambridge Handbook series is consistently good in terms of being accessible, easy to use and affordable. This Grammar Practice Activities book is no exception and should be included on any serious EFL teachers bookshelf.

Living in South Korea
Living in South Korea
by Rob Whyte
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.97

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An OK simple guide to life in Korea., 21 April 2007
This review is from: Living in South Korea (Paperback)
You could do a lot worse than this guide, but then again for a little extra investment, you could also do a lot better. It's a short book, which I got through in a couple of hours. It's modestly comprehensive if that's possible, giving the reader a reasonable snap-shot and insight into some Korean History, Customs and language tips. A good deal of the contents can realistically be found on a number of Korean websites. However, the sections on both language and manners justify it's purchase although, don't expect to gain to much, especially if you are a EFL teacher looking for something detailed and comprehensive.

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