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Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth Paperback – April 1, 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 (Sallie J. Alger, Head of Bibliographic Services, James White Library, Andrews University)
"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 (Sanford Lakoff)
About the Author
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.
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Top customer reviews
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It is unfortunate that many of the players involved in the 'scares' recounted here will simply not read the book and hang their heads in shame.
A virtual study in what makes the human race look and act stupid. This book should be a standard study for all high school students, business heads, civil servants and media chiefs.
I give out very few 5 star reviews, so that should indicate how impressed I as by this book.
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 89.5% of the world's ice, is increasing, as is Greenland's (10%).
They study the roles of scientists, the media, politicians, officials and non-governmental organisations, especially the `animal rights' groups. All these scares, and others from the witch craze to McCarthyism to the war scares over Iraq and Iran, always give the message - trust the government, pay the huge costs of protection. The real message of the scares for us must be - always look at the evidence not the spin, and seek the truth.
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Not just about us as a species and how we tend to except negative over positive....Read more