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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
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.
GRADE : A-
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 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. 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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 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
on March 7, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Like him or hate him you must admit that P.J. O'Rourke's writing is always outrageous and never boring. A spokesperson for wealthy, satisfied, middle-aged white guys everywhere, P.J. travels around the world and along the way makes you happy you're an American. His amusing takes on the planet's trouble spots are actually quite informative. There is a lot of truth in pieces like "All Guns, No Butter," which gets to the heart of starvation in Africa, for example. P.J. is one of the few writers who actually makes conservatism fun (even if you aren't one).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Here in Australia, the media gives a very high profile to the environmentalists who proclaim that the world will end in 10 minutes or less.
In contrast, P.J. O'Rourke explains why the world is actually improving. The world isn't bursting at the seams and everyone won't die of starvation (supermodels excepted).
I highly recommend the book. It's entertaining and informative. I only wish the author had included a David Suzuki dartboard.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
Once again, P.J. O'Rourke pulls us through a big, nasty tangle of complicated issues-All the Trouble in the World is a gleeful, drunken swim through a pool of sharks. In essence, the book takes everything that you are told to worry about and gives it a slow leak.

A lesser writer would make fun of the topic in an attempt at humor; mockery is not P.J.'s approach or point. Instead, he skillfully explains how issues du jour are given their spin. It's not the disaster, the famine, or the disease that P.J. is talking about - it's the difference between the perception and the reality.

Whether you are right, left, or middle-All the Trouble in the World will illuminate and cheer. This is the literary equivalent of a really fine bottle of sipping whiskey.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a vegetarian. I disapprove of the death penalty. I am a feminist (with a small f). You could even say i am a liberal. Yet, i defy all stereotyping, because i love the writing of P J O'Rourke. Yes, his writing is biased.(show me writing that isn't) Yes, he can be bombastic. But if you want an informed and entertaining read on the important issues facing the world today, you could not go past this man as a great starting point. Love or loathe the individual, you have to admire the writer. Well done again, Mr O'Rourke
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
P.J. O'Rourke writes a well researched book dealing with a lot of the 'problems' that our world faces. Through the book he counter acts a lot of the doomy predictations that people have made about things like the environment, overpopulation and famine by providing articulate information about why the predictations are wrong. The book is easy to read and is pretty funny also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
O'Rourke's collection of articles is full of hilarious lines and acerbic analyses of various scenes of human misery in the world. His understanding of the issues, and frankness, though a bit dated, are still refreshing in the face of the pewling political correctness that saturates what we call the "news" today.
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