Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth Paperback – 1 Feb 2009
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The book is well researched and well written, as well as fascinating to read, with extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter. ... This book would be helpful for an academic library collection. It could be used to counterbalance the viewpoint of the media and other sources. --The Christian Librarian
About the Author
Christopher Booker was one of the founders of Private Eye and its first editor. He has a weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph and has published several books. Richard North is a political analyst and was formerly a consultant on public health and food safety. He has co-authored several books with Christopher Booker.
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Top Customer Reviews
I purchased the authors' first joint book, "The Mad Officials", some dozen years ago after hearing Richard North speak, very entertainingly, on the excesses of environmental health officers. I was greatly entertained by that book's humorous, "if you didn't laugh you would cry" style. This is a much more scholarly work, although, thankfully, still flavoured by a wry sense of amusement at the irrational behaviour of many of those who would tell us how to live.
The book's longest chapter is on global warming, the biggest of these scares and one that is still gaining momentum.Read more ›
This book is not about denial. Booker and North do not try to deny or trivialise AIDS, BSE, smoking related diseases, E coli, Listeria or any of the issues raised. Indeed these are major issues that require a well thought out and appropriate response.
The authors take issue with the scientists who push their own research and exclude any notion that alternate research might show something to the contrary. They round on lazy jounalists who do not research facts for themselves and compete for the most sensational headline.
Mostly however, they condemn politicians who settle on the current orthodoxy and take disproportionate measures, cost millions or even billions to the taxpayer and yet fail to do any good whatsoever (what the authors call 'taking a sledgehammer and missing the nut')
What is most telling is that once the scare has been proved to be groundless, the powers that the authorities have taken for themselves to solve the problem are never given back.
An excellent read, concise and well referenced. A copy should be sent to evey politician bureucrat and pompous town hall official in the land.
They study the food scares - salmonella in eggs (1988-9), listeria in cheese, BSE in beef (1996-9) and dioxins in Belgian poultry (1999). Other scares they discuss include the Millennium bug (1999), DDT, the satanic child abuse mania (1987-94), lead, passive smoking, asbestos, SARS, bird flu (2005) (which the World Health Organisation absurdly called `the greatest single health challenge'), organophosphorus, and global warming.
They note that banning DDT has killed two million people every year, because DDT had cut malaria deaths by 95%. The EU backed the ban on DDT.
Organophosphorus, used in sheep dip, was `MAFF-approved', and an HSE leaflet warned of its `cumulative toxicity' leading to `irreversible' damage to the nervous system, akin to ME and Gulf War Syndrome (which also never happened, according to the MoD). The government suppressed the whole story, because it was directly responsible.
A review in the Independent claimed that their chapter on global warming had scarcely any scientific references. It has 117, including important articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the Journal of Geophysical Research, Energy and Environment, the International Journal of Climatology, six from Nature and five from Science. The authors expose as exaggerated the claims of climate doom. They point out that historically rising CO2 levels are associated both with rising and falling temperatures and that the overall ice mass of the Antarctic, which has 89.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First we had Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds in 1842, then we have this excellent work as its modern incarnation. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Rob Austin
This book is so interesting and informative. I bought another copy for my teenage grand-daughter so that she won't grow up believing everything she's told but will keep an open... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Monny
Christopher Booker fantastic - read his column in the Telegraph on Sunday, learn some truths and re-orientate your brain!Published 18 months ago by Phil Roberts
I've just reread this book, and am even more impressed than on the first read 5 years ago. Like any good scientific work, it not only presents the data on several decades of moral... Read morePublished 22 months ago by JPMT
This gets 5 stars for clarity, timeliness and accuracy. Governments worldwide seem to stagger from crisis to crisis as if the general public need something to worry about. Read morePublished on 26 May 2014 by Taiga
A really interesting read. The governments have made statements about things that they haven`t a clue about. This book will explain a lot of scams.Published on 28 Jan. 2014 by Ann Isherwood
Brilliant book showing the power of the media and a frightening example of how 2 plus 2 make 5 !Published on 16 Oct. 2012 by Bryan Walker
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