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All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty Paperback

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All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty + Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics + Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (August 12, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871136112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871136114
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Political humorist O'Rourke (Give War a Chance) takes a swipe at "fashionable worries," reminding us that "This is a moment of hope in history"-no more evil empire to threaten us. His contention that this is "the best moment of all time" and the U.S. is "the best place to be" is funny mostly in one-liners and anecdotes, but his larger arguments flag: while Miami's efforts at multiculturalism are worthy of parody, a field trip to "multiculturalism in practice"-the war in Bosnia-is no real contrast. After skewering environmentalists, whom he accuses of crying wolf too often, the author visits the polluted Czech Republic to proclaim sophistically that collectivist government can't solve ecological problems. As usual, O'Rourke has a good eye for self-righteousness, but his libertarian reach exceeds his wisecracking grasp.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

"I hear America whining," the dyspeptic O'Rourke moans; "moral buttinskis" grouch and fret about "fashionable worries" when all the world really needs is a healthy dose of "property rights, rule of law, responsible government, and universal education." The Rolling Stone columnist here explores overpopulation in Bangladesh (and Fremont, California); famine in Somalia; the environment along the Peruvian Amazon, in Eastern Europe, and at the 1992 Earth Summit; multiculturalism at his alma mater, Miami University of Ohio, and in the former Yugoslavia; plague in Haiti; and poverty in Vietnam. This self-described Republican Party reptile can still strike journalistic sparks and puncture self-serving pomposity; increasingly, however, his iconoclasm seems to be just a more entertaining version of the propaganda generated by the half-dozen market-loving Beltway think tanks listed in O'Rourke's acknowledgments. Though some passages here are as penetrating and funny as anything in O'Rourke's previous six books, the ax he has been grinding so long appears to be in danger of losing its edge. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

P. J. O'Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Miami University and Johns Hopkins. He began writing funny things in 1960s "underground" newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world's only trouble-spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other "Holidays in Hell" in more than 40 countries. He's written 16 books on subjects as diverse as politics and cars and etiquette and economics. His book about Washington, Parliament of Whores, and his book about international conflict and crisis, Give War a Chance, both reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. He is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard, H. L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute, a member of the editorial board of World Affairs and a regular panelist on NPR's Wait... Wait... Don't Tell Me. He lives with his family in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get.

Customer Reviews

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See all 51 customer reviews
The book is easy to read and is pretty funny also.
Neel Aroon
Mr. O'Rourke relates first hand observations of critical issues still facing our political discussion today.
John Cullom
Extremely entertaining as well as very informative.
J. Jaeger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on December 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
(...) [In] this very funny book by P. J. O'Rourke, he sets out to test
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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's always a pleasure to read a witty conservative, if only to know that those who think conservatives are a bunch of cold scolds might learn that it is possible to address serious issues and have a sense of humor. Of course the very fact that O'Rourke finds humor in the temple of "world crises" will convince those people that conservatives can be worse than cold scolds -- they even laugh in the face of serious problems.
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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Just got this book from our local library on an off chance and can't put it down. I love O'Rourke's wit, his commonsense and ability to cut through humbug. His description of life in Mogadishu and the reason aid did not get to the people dying of famine in Somalia answered so many of my questions. I can't help but think that a lot of his opinions are "tongue-in-cheek" and provocative but they certainly make one ponder. O'Rourke the mold was broken when you were born!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. D. LeDu on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
P. J. O'Rourke has a twisted way of looking at the world, that pries the laminate of political correctness off the liberal disasters of the past half century. For all the humor and sarcasm, this book points out some inconvenient truths that seldom are talked about. After all, who wants to defend global warming, poisoned food or polluted water?

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.
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