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Customer Review

on October 26, 2010
I'm shocked by how many great reviews this book has received from major publications and people on Amazon. I was given The Bottom Billion by a friend who also highly recommended it. Immediately I started to become frustrated by some of the claims Collier makes, one especially ridiculous one is that rebel movements are more likely to start in a country because it is mountainous than because of political or human rights issues. There was no footnote or end note to support such a stupid claim, and the only references he gives is from his own research or that of his immediate colleagues.
I got through he book by grinding my teeth at how many times the author makes claims that were entirely the opposite of everything I learned while studying international theory and development in college.
Collier constantly quotes unnamed and unsourced experts and officials which is also highly suspicious. If you are going to right a book that makes such confident and strident claims regarding invading poor countries I would at least expect more than "well this guy told me this once, so we should invade Somalia". After I finished the book I tried to track down some of his statistical evidence, it then became clear as to why he left them out. For more info on why Colliers' research is inaccurate read the Lancets review of The Bottom Billion.
Finally I would just like to say Collier seems like an arrogant prick with a mild form of aspergers. I know this is very harsh, but as I read the book I couldn't help but think how much I would hate to work or be around this guy. The only time he showed emotion was when he blasted "Headless Hearts" i.e. compassionate people, or when he described the possibility of his son dying in a terrorist attack. It seems as if he doesn't really care about the plight of the bottom billion, but is more interested in defending globalization and neo-liberal economic policies.
Oh, he also does a really soul crushing cost-benefit analysis of the Iraq invasion that frames the argument for and against the invasion entirely based on money. No human consideration at all.
This book is the epitome of American and British exceptionalism, and even though I gave it a terrible review I still recommend reading it so at least the reader will have a better understanding of how smart people rationalize themselves and others in to doing or supporting illegal and immoral policies.
49 helpful votes
50 helpful votes
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