This book tells the inside story of each of the major 'scares' of the past two decades, showing for the first time how they have followed a remarkably consistent pattern, and demonstrating how they left us completely unprepared for the most disruptive and dangerous event of all: COVID-19.
For most of the latter part of the last century, and the early part of this, Britain has been assailed by a succession of 'scares', from salmonella and eggs to BSE, from the Millennium Bug to bird flu, from DDT to passive smoking, from asbestos to global warming.
These scares have become one of the most conspicuous and damaging features of our modern world, so much so that as we entered the third decade of the new century, our senses had become so blunted that we scarcely recognised the real thing for what it was, until it arrived - COVID-19, for which we were almost completely unprepared.
The authors analyse the crucial roles of the different factions who perpetrated the scares: from the scientists who misread or manipulated the evidence to the media and lobbyists who eagerly promoted scares without regard to the consequences, and the politicians and officials who came up with absurdly disproportionate responses, leaving us to pay a colossal price.
In this updated edition, Scared to Death not only presents a detailed account of the scares that have dominated our society for the past 50 years - through all of which the authors lived - but also examines the background to the COVID-19 pandemic, tracing our lack of preparedness to its roots and then assessing, by way of contrast, why this is the real thing, as opposed to the succession of scares that we have experienced.
Every politician, every journalist, every consumer of journalism should read, mark and inwardly digest this book ― Mail on Sunday
This is a huge book in size, scope and importance. Anyone who reads it will find it hard to disagree with the authors' conclusion. ― This England
A highly valuable and much needed investigation into the 'crisis industry' in which pressure groups and journalists work together to keep us entertained with a succession of 'crises'. ― Contemporary Review
About the Author
Christopher Booker was a founding editor of Private Eye,to which he regularly contributed,and also wrote a longstanding column for the Sunday Telegraph. His bestselling books include The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, The Real Global Warming Disaster, The Great Deception, The Mad Officials, Scared to Death and The Neophiliacs. Booker died in July 2019.
Richard North has in recent years won a reputation as one of Britain's most expert defence analysts, through his Defence of the Realm blog. Formerly a research director in the European Parliament, North is also a political analyst through his EU Referendum blog, which examines Britain's place in the world with particular reference to its membership of the European Union. He co-authored four bestselling books with the late Sunday Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker, including Scared To Death: From BSE To Global Warming, How Scares Are Costing Us The Earth (2007) and The Great Deception (2005), a comprehensive history of the European Union. He is the author of Ministry of Defeat (2009).