All the Trouble in the World Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 1 Nov 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
O Rourke is hilarious, but also clever and makes deep political points that changed the way I thought about half the things that worried me..and made me laugh about them.
You could read a New Age cosmic psycho-exploration of your inner navel. Or maybe "The World According To Every Pretentious Git". Also there is "How To Be A Modern Metrosexual Greenage Ghastly".
Read "All The Trouble In The World." Equipped with this book, you will be able to ward off 99% of the BS that passes for wisdom in today's world, even though it was written a decade ago. It may be the funniest thing you have read in ages. I have to take a chapter at a time because the one liners are so fast and furious I get exhausted. By it's use you will be able to swat every politically correct twerp that ever crosses your path - and laugh about it. It's wickedly funny and wickedly wise.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
big government liberalism by seeing how it is playing out in the real world, on a series of issues : overpopulation, famine, ecological
disaster, ethnic hatred, plague and poverty. For making this effort to scientifically test the ideology of the Left, in the laboratory of
reality, he has been accused of practically fabricating the issues in order to shoot down their solutions. If only....
It is all enjoyable and a ringing vindication of free markets, limited government and American culture (circa 1950), but far and away the
best chapter is the overpopulation one where he compares that perennial favorite of the Paul Ehrlich crowd, Bangladesh, with Fremont,
CA. Why Fremont? How about, because they have roughly the same population density. By the time Mr. O'Rourke is done, the very
notion that population growth, in the abstract, is something that we have to be terrified of has been rendered utterly laughable (and laugh
you will). Also worth the price of admission, before its author totally fades into obscurity, is the evisceration of Al Gore's deranged
magnum opus, Earth in the Balance. Mr. O'Rourke delivers Mr. Gore a well deserved drubbing.
The book makes a fine companion piece to Parliament of Whores, sort of a foreign affairs version of the same tale. Taken together, they
stand as one of the best and certainly the funniest defenses of liberty you are likely to find.
GRADE : A-
All The Trouble in the World focuses P.J. O'Rourke's biting satire and sarcasm on several topics that were hot in the early 1990's (and still are): overpopulation, famine, ecological apocalypse, multiculturalism, and miserable third world regimes that hide their brutality and failure behind the facade of socialism and first world envy.
Interspersed behind the barbs and wise-guy cracks are usually thoughtful analysis and intelligent criticism. For example, he compares Bangladesh with Fresno, California. Both have the same density, but find themselves in dramatically different conditions. While Bangladesh has some problems not found in Fresno, O'Rourke argues it's lack of free markets and a creaking bureaucracy overwhelm what had historically been a pretty productive population. Of course, his travels there set the stage for many humorous observations and situations (The Ministry of Jute -- Monty Python would have had a time with that one).
Some of the best chapters focus on our own living room liberals: those whose mission it is to save America from itself. Two chapters on multiculturalism and the world environmental movement show the length to which people who think of themselves as liberal have really become authoritarians who brook no dissent (nor inconvenient facts) in their quest to make the world right by their mind. The jokes just write themselves in these chapters -- there is such a gulf between some of these people and the real world (not to mention freedom and the Constitution) -- that one alternates between laughter and amazement when reading of what is being done "for" us by those who don't trust us.
Sometimes the humor wears -- I get the same feeling when reading Dave Berry. A little time between chapters keeps the material more fresh and sharp. But O'Rourke undergirds all of his criticisms (this is a critical analysis) with facts and thoughtful arguments. He doesn't necessarily have all the answers, but he does have a different and refreshing perspective.
I am by training an engineer, one who has traveled a lot. I am trained to be logical, to weigh facts, and to adjust my findings as input information changes. It is great to send food to starving nations, but does it justify the destruction of the local farming economy? After all, free food drives out locally grown crops, and perpetuates hunger.
And is the possible benefit (if any) of a DDT ban worth the lives of millions of children? Were the author writing this today, he would undoubtedly have a ball with the organizations collecting money to send mesquito netting to Africa -- to compensate to a small degree for the disastrous consequences of the DDT ban. But I guess the ban is OK, since it is brown and black children that are dieing. If, instead, it were dozens of white liberals American children who died? I bet we would see DDT at WalMart.
This is not meant to be a technical treatise, although it does have a good measure of hard information and references (buried beneath the belly-laughing humor). Unfortunately, the kind of boring fact-upon-fact tract that might entertain me does not hold any interest for the average person. Mr. O'Rourke uses humor to tease along those who would be turned off by a technical journal.
Although published in the 90's, this book is every bit as relevant today as then -- and just as entertaining.