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State of Fear Hardcover – Large Print, 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 2,135 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1005 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins; Book Club (BCE/BOMC) edition (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739448153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739448151
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,330,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First of all, this book is fiction, just like the Da Vinci Code. Yes, there are factual nuggets. However, the nuggets are conveyed in a manner that is very much like the propaganda that some of the characters rail against.

Second, having been trained in the Earth Science; a member of local, national, and global environmental groups; and an Environmental Science teacher I LOVED THIS BOOK! Why? Because it makes you think about what you know, why you know it, and where the information comes from. Nobody should take information published second-hand and not think about how data can be misconstrued (including the data published in this book).

Third, State of Fear makes you think about the hypocrisy of American Environmentalism: living in enormous houses in the middle of forest-fire prone landscapes, driving everywhere, wasting water, and then paying money to large environmental groups who overstate scientific findings (just like the energy companies do). Assuaging our guilt isn't going to make the world a better place.

Finally, Crichton encourages us to not be sheep. Think for yourself. Read the primary sources of data with an open-mind. Live the way you wish everyone else lived. Judgement without compassion is worthless.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Crichton has written a surprisingly serious and well researched indictment of the favorite sacred cow of the environmental movement -- global warming -- embedded within a typically action charged Crichton novel. The author uses Socratic dialogue and other devices to educate the reader as to what the data are showing in this complex, politically charged issue. The principal characters come well armed with graphs and data selected to back up their points, often lecturing the less informed, though environmentally concerned, characters (and the reader) on the true state of the art of the science. At the same time, the author indicts the environmental NGOs, the media, the research funding agencies, and political leaders for promoting their agenda with slanted, inaccurate portrayals of what the science is saying. He paints a jaundiced view of the motivations and methods of radical environmentalist organizations and their supporters. At a higher level, the book's title derives from a semiconspiratorial view, espoused by an eccentric, not quite credible character, that the climate warming issue is actually part of a complex social dynamic aimed a creating and maintaining a continual sense of anxiety and fear among the population at large. These literary devices call to mind Ayn Rand's influential novels, in which for example Howard Rourke is used to lecture us on the virtues of individualism and integrity.

As a scientist familiar with the climate warming issue, having managed research in the area, I believe Crichton's book makes an important statement to the many who believe that the issue is settled, that human-induced warming is real and that catastrophe will follow.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael Crichton has always used the latent but, in his view, underappreciated dangers associated with scientific advancement as a theme in his books (microbiology in The Andromeda Strain, genetic engineering in Jurassic park, and so on).

In State of Fear he reverses field and uses the incorrectly perceived threats of environmental disaster as the underlying impetus for a novel. In Crichton's view, the whole global warming argument is false. His view is that environmentalism has degenerated into a quasi religious system devoid of scientific veracity. Thus, the proponents of the global warming hysteria are pushing faith over fact, many of them have lost their moorings and the inevitable result is a grand conspiracy.

At the heart of this conspiracy is Nick Drake, head of a radical environmentalist group. Outraged that a significant source of funding has been closed by the donors getting Drakes science debunked by a MIT professor, drakes sets out on a murderous course that is designed to both do away with his detractors and enemies while concomitantly creating a profound state of fear about global warming among the public.

As is generally the case with Crichton, an avalanche of scientific data is imparted in Crichton's usual informative yet entertaining manner. Many will debate the validity of Crichton's "science" as regards the issue of global warming. As Crichton so deftly displays in this novel, this issue has become more political than scientific in many ways and there's no reason this novel won't be analyzed in that light.

The story has all the traditional strengths and weaknesses of a Crichton novel. Crichton is an accomplished technician and that comes through in this novel. It can justifiably be called a page turner.
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Format: Hardcover
As a scientist, this was a joy to read!

I am a specialist in mosquito-borne diseases. I worked for the CDC in the US for 22 years. Now I work for the Pasteur Institute in France.

For more than 12 years I have been battling the mis-information on my speciality that is doled out by global warming alarmists. I believe I am winning: predictions of the "spread" of malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases were once top of the list of dangers predicted by these ignorant, uninformed people.

Sadly, the alarmists have now switched to sea-level rise and other dangers, despite the protests of professional scientists. Crighton's book reveals the disgraceful way that this mis-information is peddled. Let me summarize in my own words:

More than a million articles are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals every year. The lay-public is unaware of this colossal output; popular information on research findings is limited to "newsworthy" articles, selected, described and interpreted by the media.

Professional scientists rarely draw firm conclusions from a single article, but consider its contribution in the context of other publications and their own experience, knowledge, and speculations. The complexity of this process, and the uncertainties involved, are a major obstacle to meaningful understanding of scientific issues by non-scientists.

In the age of information, popular knowledge of scientific issues-particularly on issues of health and the environment-is awash in a tide of misinformation, much of it presented in the 'big talk' of professional scientists. Alarmist activists operating in well-funded advocacy groups have a lead role in creating and promoting this misinformation.
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