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Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside…
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Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That…

by Rose George

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As the title implies, freight shipping is important, but overlooked. The author looks into the industry which appears to be impossible to regulate and awfully dreary at best for the sellers, yet surprisingly compelling. The heart of the book is George's journey on the giant container ship Maersk Kendal from Rotterdam to Singapore by way of Suez. Apart from her own journey, George explores the hardship of the sailor's life and those who depends on them, shipwrecks, the effect of shipping on whales, and Somali pirates. It's an interesting glimpse into a vital part of human life that can be beyond the brain's capability to comprehend. ( )
  Othemts | Apr 7, 2015 |
Read chapter 10, "Rescue," on Ben's recommendation, as I'd just finished Erik Larson's Dead Wake when he finished reading this book. Merchant sailors, it turns out, were attacked and killed in huge proportions during World War II, but didn't receive the respect or the benefits that sailors in the navy did, despite their part in the war effort; they have only received recognition recently.
  JennyArch | Mar 9, 2015 |
I found myself completely absorbed by much of this book, which is a journalist's account of a trip on a Maersk container ship and her review of the workings of the shipping industry. Your mileage may vary, but I was fascinated (and at times disgusted) by the commercial realities and the human stories - from the impact of flagging out to the economics of piracy and the intimate loneliness of modern seafaring life.

I suspect I will reread this; I certainly found plenty of food for thought (not least in the closing chapters on environmental impact) and was touched by the chapter on the church's involvement to try and reassure seafarers that somebody out there cares in the face of elaborate corporate structures that remove any accountability for ship owners or flag states and leave the sailors literally at sea with little protection and less oversight.

Well written and unexpectedly engaging. ( )
  imyril | Nov 17, 2014 |
Another excellent book from Rose George! I love how she writes on topics that most people never think about or are even aware of, yet they are vital to our way (privileged) of living in this world...She writes well, draws you in by constructing a compelling narrative that she intersperses with fascinating and relevant history, politics, economics, etc. Great book! ( )
  bouillabaisse | Sep 10, 2014 |
Nice account of something that is widely ignored despite its huge importance in knitting global trade together. Rose George manages to combine personal stories with a wider analysis of both the state and the importance of this invisible industry. ( )
  xander_paul | Jun 3, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805092633, Hardcover)

Eye-opening and compelling, the overlooked world of freight shipping, revealed as the foundation of our civilization

On ship-tracking websites, the waters are black with dots. Each dot is a ship; each ship is laden with boxes; each box is laden with goods. In postindustrial economies, we no longer produce but buy. We buy, so we must ship. Without shipping there would be no clothes, food, paper, or fuel. Without all those dots, the world would not work.

Freight shipping has been no less revolutionary than the printing press or the Internet, yet it is all but invisible. Away from public scrutiny, shipping revels in suspect practices, dubious operators, and a shady system of “flags of convenience.” Infesting our waters, poisoning our air, and a prime culprit of acoustic pollution, shipping is environmentally indefensible. And then there are the pirates.

Rose George, acclaimed chronicler of what we would rather ignore, sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore on ships the length of football fields and the height of Niagara Falls; she patrols the Indian Ocean with an anti-piracy task force; she joins seafaring chaplains, and investigates fishing trawlers and the harm they are inflicting on endangered whales.

Sharply informative and entertaining, Ninety Percent of Everything reveals the workings and perils of an unseen world that holds the key to our economy, our environment, and our very civilization.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:53 -0400)

Revealing the workings and dangers of freight shipping, the author sails from Rotterdam to Suez to Singapore to present an eye-opening glimpse into an overlooked world filled with suspect practices, dubious operators, and pirates.

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