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Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth Hardcover – March 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A very news-worthy subject, with Booker and North providing some much-needed common sense commentary.'
Publishing News
(Publishing News)

"Every politician, every journalist, every consumer of journalism, should read, mark, learn and inwardly digest it."—Mail on Sunday
(Mail on Sunday)

"Well argued and eminently readable book."
Michael Grey, Lloyd's List


Title mention by James Le Fanu in The Daily Telegraph, December 2007


Feature in ADI News, December 2007


Title mention in an article written by Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph, December 2007


"Scared to Death is a masterful and salutary account of the most costly misjudgements of the last 25 years. Written with painful clarity, here is an important study of the process by which sloppy science becomes a difficult to shift orthodoxy." The Spectator
(The Spectator)

"Quite simply, a must read. This expose of 'scares' of our time makes for a fascinating and eye-opening study." Resource
(Resource)

Title mention in an unfavourable review in The Observer


Title mention in article
(Telegraph & Argus)

Title mention in an article written by Christopher Booker


Featured in an article
(AdiNEWS)

Title mention in an article written by Richard North
(Poultry World)

Title mention in an article
(Central Somerset Gazette)

"This is a book that should be compulsory reading for every politician and journalist"
(John Brignell, SPPI)

'[A] brilliant and beautifully written expose of some of the most destructive delusions of our time"
(Human Givens, Ivan Tyrrell)

"Mr. Booker and Mr. North identify a dynamic through which amarginal public concern mushrooms into a full-blown scare — from salmonella andmad cow disease to DDT and asbestos, and focus on what may be the greatest,most costly scare of all: Global warming." —Washington Times (Carrie Lukas, Executive Director, Independent Women’s Forum, Author, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism The Washington Times)

Today's Books / Bookweek "The A-List"



"It takes a bold team of authors to take on Al Gore thesedays...while reading this book may make the reader want to punch his or her localelected official and the news correspondent he rode in on, the responsibilityfor controlling these scares ultimately rests with each of us." —Popmatters.com


"Possibly the most important book written in the last 100 years." Amazon reviewer
(Amazon)

"There is so much to commend this book. Not only is it packed with solidly researched evidence, it's also a gripping narrative read. there are few books on current affairs that really qualify as page-turners, but this is most definitely one of them ... It ought to be required reading for every adult in the country."
Pan Pantziarka, London Book Review.com, March 12th 2008


Reviewed in H-Soz-u-Kult, November 2008
(Cord Arendes)

Mentioned in The Bookseller, June 2009
(Katie Allen)

"Every politician, every journalist, every consumer of journalism, should read, mark, learn and inwardly digest it."—Mail on Sunday
(Sanford Lakoff)

"Scared to Death is a masterful and salutary account of the most costly misjudgements of the last 25 years. Written with painful clarity, here is an important study of the process by which sloppy science becomes a difficult to shift orthodoxy." The Spectator
(Sanford Lakoff)

"Quite simply, a must read. This expose of 'scares' of our time makes for a fascinating and eye-opening study." Resource
(Sanford Lakoff)

Title mention in article
(Sanford Lakoff)

Title mention in an article written by Christopher Booker
(Sanford Lakoff)

Featured in an article
(Sanford Lakoff)

Title mention in an article written by Richard North
(Sanford Lakoff)

Title mention in an article
(Sanford Lakoff)

"This is a book that should be compulsory reading for every politician and journalist"
(Sanford Lakoff)

'[A] brilliant and beautifully written expose of some of the most destructive delusions of our time"
(Sanford Lakoff)

"Mr. Booker and Mr. North identify a dynamic through which amarginal public concern mushrooms into a full-blown scare — from salmonella andmad cow disease to DDT and asbestos, and focus on what may be the greatest,most costly scare of all: Global warming." —Washington Times (Sanford Lakoff The Washington Times)

Today’s Books / Bookweek “The A-List”



“It takes a bold team of authors to take on Al Gore thesedays…while reading this book may make the reader want to punch his or her localelected official and the news correspondent he rode in on, the responsibilityfor controlling these scares ultimately rests with each of us.” –Popmatters.com


"Possibly the most important book written in the last 100 years." Amazon reviewer
(Sanford Lakoff)

Reviewed in H-Soz-u-Kult, November 2008
(Sanford Lakoff)

Mentioned in The Bookseller, June 2009
(Sanford Lakoff)

About the Author

As a noted commentator on the political, social and psychological history of our time, Christopher Booker has in recent years, through his weekly Sunday Telegraph column, become the most conspicuous 'global warming sceptic' in the British press. He has based his view on exhaustive research into the scientific evidence for and against the theory of 'man-made climate change'.

His professional interest in this issue grew out of research for his previous book Scared To Death, co-written with Dr Richard North, a study of the 'scare phenomenon' which has been such a prominent feature of Western life in recent decades. Booker's other recent books have included The Seven Basic Plots, a best-selling analysis of why we tell stories which has established itself as a standard text (also published by Continuum). He has been an author and journalist for nearly 50 years, and was the founding editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye.
Richard North is a political analyst who has been a research director in the European Parliament and was formerly a nationally-known consultant on public health and food safety. He has co-authored several books with Christopher Booker.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826486142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826486141
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,998,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Journalist Christopher Booker and former food safety consultant Dr Richard North have written a fascinating book on the rash of scares in the last 20 years. They earlier worked together on a brilliant book on the European Union The great deception.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
"Scared to Death" does a very good job of describing past scares: Salmonella in eggs, Listeria in cheese, Mad Cow Disease, Dioxins in poultry feed, anti-malarial DDT, SARS and bird flu, The Milennium Bug, Ritualized Child Abuse, Auto Speed Limits, Lead in gasoline, Passive Smoking, organophosphorus in pesticides, and The Great Asbestos Scam. This book also summarizes the misinformation and misconceptions surrounding the Global Warming Scare and explains why the Kyoto Protocol is a futile and economically disastrous policy.
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Format: Hardcover
Looking for a light dissection of the idiocies perpetrated by the army of cranks, headline seekers and gulls that govern us? I was. But this book is not it. Instead, we get a meticulously (not to say remorselessly) detailed history of the various health and environmental scares that have struck the UK (and the USA & EU).

The authors show that these are usually ridiculously overblown and cost a fortune with no discernible benefit. They also describe a five step process where the scare germinates, is spread by the press and NGOs, overwhelms government and is finally forgotten.

But I think the authors have the emphasis slightly wrong. To be "credible" in this credulous age, a threat has to be highly mysterious. Paedophile rings are not enough, they have to be satanic ritualised. Other threats (germs in chickens or cheese, CO2) have to be invisible. And they have to menace everybody. The example of the scare-that-wasn't doesn't conform. The chemical comes in a tub, and it affects an easily defined minority (sheep farmers).

You can read this book and still believe in global warming. (The sceptics cited are the usual ones.) What would be harder is to read this book and still have faith in government agencies and NGOs, which have grown like weeds and need scares to justify their existence. Your faith in scientists will be shaken, given the litany of corruption of the scientific method enumerated.

O tempora! O mores!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very informative and well written. The illnesses and food scares became a bit tedious after a while, however the chapters on Global Warming, lead, asbestos, and second hand smoke were facinating and very well documented. The author provides details most have never heard behind the suppression and discrediting of dissenting studies, which are abandoned after they fail to support the politically correct position. I've watched since the 60s as passive smoking went from a stinky habit which was impolite to do in the company of non-smokers, to the 2000's when near panic would errupt by the fanatical anti-smoking lobby if a single whiff entered their nostrils on a beach. Truly silly stuff. Its always surprised me that Americans would buy into that nonsense. This book really details how deceived we've been - and still are.
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The mystery to me is why this book hasn't been widely heralded or attacked. It's been out almost 2 years now and contains what appear to be unassailable arguments and documentation as to why two of the current scares, global warming and secondhand smoke are nonsensical as threats. It hasn't made the best seller lists, yet it also contains a lucid explanation of why reliance on wind energy is both costly and foolish (hint: winds don't always blow and you have to have a backup system when they don't, ergo the cost calculations are nonsense). Where are the global warming acolytes to attack this thing? Where is the savior, Al Gore, to explain it's fallacies? A "must read" for the serious skeptic, but tough slogging. Worth the effort.
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