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Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate Hardcover – August 13, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, because it answered some of my many questions. Savannahians in particular (including myself) and people in general don't understand how much our modern world with all its international foods and products rests on maritime transportation. In an early chapter, the author, Rose George, does a non-scientific, man-on-the-street survey of people, so see if they know what percentage of goods comes by sea. The highest guess she got was thirty percent. As the title implies, it's three times that. Most people assume our goods come via plane because they're some much quicker. Container ships may move at a relatively glacial pace, but they cannot be beat for cost-effictiveness. In one of the most shocking lines of the book, the reader finds that it is cheaper to have fish caught in Scotland, frozen and shipped to China to be filleted, and then frozen and shipped back to be sold in Scottish grocery stores, RATHER than pay to Scottish workers to process the fish. The obsession with the bottom-line boggles my mind in this case, but it gives the reader an idea that shipping by boat only adds a penny or two to the cost of most goods.
Ms.Read more ›
This is a good book which does a good job of trying but really loses track and misses out on some great opportunities.
I found the description of the day to day activity of the crew and the threat of pirates interesting as far as they went. However, Ms. George appears to have been somewhat stymied by an uncommunicative Captain and crew and by the lack of contact with anything approaching a real pirate. She therefore drifts off into discussions of whales and shipwrecks, seemingly in an attempt to fill out the rest of the book. I am afraid she completely missed the opportunity to talk about, among other things, the impact this technology has, together with the internet, in enabling Tom Friedman's flat world. Any book about the container industry that fails to even mention Walmart seems shallow and sadly lacking.
This time Rose joined the merchant marine, not "to see the world" as the saying goes, but to experience the life of seafarers, mostly ignored by the rest of society. She began her journey of "thirty-nine days at sea, six ports, two oceans, five seas, and the most compellingly foreign environment she is ever likely to encounter" when she boarded the Danish container ship, Maersk Kendal "from the southern English port of Felixstowe to Singapore for five weeks and 9,288 nautical miles through the pillars of Hercules, pirate waters and weather."
Along the way she experiences the excitement of discovery and the boredom of unrelenting monotony. She witnesses the hardships and injustice meted to the seamen on board, the long working hours (illegal in most countries), poor pay, cramped quarters, unhygienic environment and crimes from petty theft to rapes and even murder; all adjudicated by the unquestioned authority of the ship's captain.
"we were told that the captain is our god; he can marry you, baptize you, and even bury you without anybody's permission. We were told that the sea is no-man's-land and that what happens at sea stays at sea."
Ms.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The title of Rose’s book clues us in to her first main point: ninety percent of the food we eat and the things that fill our homes, cupboards, offices, and yards comes to us by... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge
A good reminder about just how much we import, and the importance of keeping shipping lanes open.Published 1 month ago by Eric A Liebeskind
"I am about to embark to a place and space that is usually off-limits and hidden. The public is not allowed on a ship like this, nor even on the dock. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mike DePue, OFS
After seeing the title and cover image I thought this should be a good book on Shipping! But sorry, this ain't... You hardly get anything from this book.. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Raja
Highly readable, provides a fascinating view of life in commercial shipping.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic book, easy to read, very informative, arguably important. I bought this after catching the author's Ted Talk, and it was better than I dared to hope. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Paige R. Penland
Ninety percent of everything we use comes from overseas; this isn't new information. But the realities of pirate waters, flag states, and working conditions were shockingly so. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Karen L. Shumway