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Cornered: Tobacco Companies At The Bar Of Justice
Cornered: Tobacco Companies At The Bar Of Justice
by Peter Pringle
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. A clear history of tobacco litigation in ..., 30 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent read. A clear history of tobacco litigation in the USA that seems well sourced and researched. Whilst driven in part of profit, this is a story of lawyers pushing forwards public health against a combative opponent and is fascinating.


Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch
Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch
by Nick Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 25 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent.


Double Down
Double Down
by John Heilemann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 5 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Double Down (Hardcover)
Double down excels in depth and is a reminder to why long form retrospective analysis still champs the hash tag generation. (Albeit, they've taken on much of its 'gossipiness'). Their access appears top to bottom with in-sight through both campaigns highs and lows. It's pacey - a gripping read on a topic of interest to politicos.


Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Yale Agrarian Studies) (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)
Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Yale Agrarian Studies) (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)
by Alissa Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Squeezed, 3 Jan. 2011
It's not that Squeezed is a boring book. It is not. I've never learnt so much about orange juice in my life. Drunk in such great quantities, it is impressive that we live in such ignorance as to how it arrives at our glass. The author writes well & gives a clear summary of the orange industry's 20th C history. And some bits are fascinating.

The problem is this. There is a ever growing 'genre' of point books - 'Cod', '[The color] Red', to name two of a few - and Squeezed sits on the same shelf. Their detailed investigations are impressive, but narrow. One wonders whether this book has tried to Squeeze (ho ho) too much of a story out of the relatively plain orange. To brutally sum up the book - it turns out a lot of orange we drink is diluted muck, the FDA have a load of regulations, and the industry / growers lobby hard.

This said. I think the fact that we consume so much of this processed 'orange' juice is telling; it's not just that we are ignorant. We know where orange juice should come from, and we know how much oranges should cost. I suspect we also know that to make a carton of orange juice with real oranges, it would cost a fair deal more than what we pay. But still we buy it. So I suspect a generation of people just dont care about what they consume, and a (younger) generation of people dont know and have never known what a 'real' orange tastes like. So processed orange is orange.

The cultural definition, then, is not something round from a tree, rather, something square from a supermarket.

So. If you are a food economist, lobbyist, serious foodie, then buy this book. It is interesting and a good read. If, however, you were looking for a quick jaunt through the world of oranges, I would instead refer you to the back of your breakfast table cartoon and a bit of common sense about modern food production.


Inside the Kingdom
Inside the Kingdom
by Robert Lacey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Good review, 17 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Inside the Kingdom (Paperback)
Robert Lacey writes well. He has constructed an accessible but detailed review of the Saudi state and it's gentle modernisation. What is most interesting are the passages on emerging radicalism in the 70/80s, intervention in Afghanistan in the 90s, and then the Saudi response to 9/11. The book has good access to sources in the royal circle - and the characters are painted well. For example - king abdullahs please to bush over Palestine are heartfelt.


A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West
A Little War that Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West
by Ronald D. Asmus
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 17 Nov. 2010
Asmus is clearly well connected the Western / Georgian Foreign Policy machine, and the key players in it. His insights are translated well into this excellent history of Georgia's conflict with Russia (or rather, Russia's conflict with Georgia).

Asmus gives a good history of the the war, Georgia's aspirations, and Russia's growling frustration with it's neighbour. There are a few things that are startling from the book. First, the true extent of the weak western response and support given to Georgia. Sarkozy's shuttle diplomacy leaves the state with an ambiguous settlement & limited security. Further, one can't but wonder what lesson's Russia's other euro-philic neighbours (Ukraine) might read from the affair. Second - the determination of Russia to start a conflict. With the world's eyes on the Beijing olympics, Georgia fell into the trap many months/years in the making. Again, one cant but wonder what the outcome would have been had the Western world taken the Russian moves more seriously and given better (stronger?) advice to the Georgian premier.

The only weakness to the tale is the lack of 'Russian' perspective. It would be interesting to have had some view from the other side of the conflict.

That said, it is a excellent read and well worth considering for anyone attempting to better understand these two nations.


Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62
Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62
by Frank Dikötter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent history, 17 Nov. 2010
This book paints a vivid history of a time period largely neglected by the western consciousness. We are taught a simple 21st c history lesson. It cover atrocities in Nazi Germany, disasters of American intervention in Korea, Vietman, and then the Gulf - and yet this story misses perhaps the biggest tale of our time - China, & Mao's 'great' leap forwards.

Frank Dikotter helps remedy this. The book covers what can only be described as a regime's descent into madness, in startling detail. As criticism is slowly snubbed out the policies and programmes become more ludicrous. We follow Dikotter on a review of the events leading up to the 'great leap forwards', and then consider its component parts - e.g. how the chinese people were affected. It is a struggle sometimes to comprehend the size and scale of the death and the economic loss the country suffered, and it is startling to contrast the period with a (still) proud, strong & modern China.

The book is very well written, and quite accessible.

I'd also add-the research is excellent, and the book is well referenced. Far too many books are published these days without a good reference set, and it is to the author / publishers credit that they have included it.


Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa
Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa
by Dambisa Moyo
Edition: Paperback

41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good argument, not so great read, 28 Feb. 2009
It's not easy to write to the mass market on Africa- there are so many countries there, after all, and to get across them without making every point qualified (or bracketed with a list of nations 0-44 long) is not straight forwards.

So - the positives. The book has a marvelous biography, a modern rarity. The weight of empirical force behind the core of Moyo's argument is impressive. Her argument is convincing: stop aid, it fuels corruption, does more harm than good, and is based on flawed economics. Instead, fund through the markets (bonds, micro-credit, and so on) and overcome political indifference to 60 years of failure. The book is packed with gems, some old but most new- e.g. EU cows are subsidized to the tune of 2.5 euros a day (more than most Africans).

However. This book is perhaps 10 years too late. If one had picked this up in the late 90s or early 00's, this would have been a stunning agenda shaper. Yet, in the financial turmoil of 2008-09, her arguments about how markets would solve most problems, and how tempting Africa is to investors looks shaky. (The only reference to the credit crunch is a paragraph up front). Given such a cataclysmic drop in growth, can Africa really rely on China for the next 5 years?

This aside, whilst the Dead Aid thesis / argument flows through the book, it often wonders & dwells too long. In places, arguments are confused (e.g. don't worry about defaults -Venezuela, Argentina all did it ok over the last 200 years and look how well they did! Next chapter - default at your peril, the market never forgives or forgets!).

So - this book is not without its flaws but you cannot deny the merit of its arguments. Well worth a read to anyone new to the subject.


Most Of The Remixes...
Most Of The Remixes...
Price: £10.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 22 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Most Of The Remixes... (Audio CD)
A stunning album. The remixes are quality - turning so so pop tracks into dance classics. Of particular note are the Sugababes Round Round (who'd have thought) and The Gossip.


Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
by Allan M. Brandt
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing history of the tobacco weed, 10 Sept. 2007
Brandt has written one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time.

From late 19th C to early 21 C, the deceptive practices of the tobacco companies around the world are outlined in all their gory (and lethal) detail. Brandt pitches the rise and 'fall' of the the cigarette in the context of the companies' astounding marketing strategies, political strategies, and more recently, legal wranglings. Their ability to quite literally change societies, cultural norms, governments, to support demand for their product is quite amazing.

Curiously, I approached this book with the aim of getting some understand of how big tobacco was 'beaten'. To my amazement, the conclusion I was left with was rather worrying. Efforts to contain the activites of the tobacco companies are far from over; whilst moderately successful in the west the rest of world is ripe for the plucking. Brandt outlines their strategies of probing deep into emerging markets and offers some projections on the number of smokers in the coming century; the figures make for some shocking conclusions.

Well written, very interesting, often morbidly amusing, well recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2014 1:55 PM GMT


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