2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A very timely read!,
This review is from: Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth (Paperback)It's a strange feeling to have finished reading Scared To Death last night and then to wake up this morning to the height of "swine flu" hysteria. "A pandemic is imminent"; the disease has "the power to kill 1.2 million in Britain alone"; "The whole of humanity" is at risk. All so very familiar after reading this book.
In it, authors Christopher Booker and Richard North take a detailed look at many of the similar scares from the last 3 decades - eg: salmonella, BSE, the Millennium Bug - and persuasively show how there was rarely if ever anything to really worry about. Behind each scare were dodgy scientific evidence, gullible politicians and a media that profits from frightening the public.
Provocatively, Booker and North also make the case that some of the things our society currently accepts as fact - eg: passive smoking causes cancer, all asbestos is deadly, climate change is caused by man-made CO2 - are similarly based on bad science and political/media hysteria. The evidence the book presents against man-made global warming is so impressive, it actually shocked me.
As other commenters have said, the chapter on Satanic child abuse is deeply upsetting to read, telling as it does of families and childrens' lives destroyed by absolute morons. Covens of satan-worshipping paedophiles for god's sake! Yet social services accepted this as truth as recently as the 90s. In fact a theme running through the book is that scares often lead to ordinary people having their lives ruined by confused, over-reacting bureaucrats.
Sometimes distressing, sometimes blackly funny, always riveting, this is a great read as well as a vital, eye-opening source of information. It is one of the best non-fiction books I've read.