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Ninety Percent Of Everything: Inside Shipping, The Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes On Your Back, Gas In Your Car, And Food On Your Plate (2013)

by Rose George(Favorite Author)
3.66 of 5 Votes: 2
0805092633 (ISBN13: 9780805092639)
Henry Holt
review 1: I picked this up as an airport read(despite having about 7 other books in my bag to read on holiday)having found it impossible to return to the shelf after reading the first few chapters. By the flights end I was already gripped and sailed through(excuse the pun) the remainder in a day or two. The subject matter, the shipping industry, is fascinating enough that it would prove a compelling read even if the author had taken a fairly straight forward facts and figures approach to its telling but what George carries out masterfully throughout her book is exposing the human side of the largely unnoticed but vital industry. In detailing her own reaction to the unique circumstances that see small groups of men literally cast adrift to carry goods across vast distances in this mo... morest hostile and lonely of environments, she paints a portrait of people both enamoured and disenfranchised with their lot often simultaneously. While there is a romance inherent in the idea of running away to sea, the picture she paints is of the harsh reality that is to be faced once the exotic port has slipped away over the horizon and the crews are faced with long work hours, meagre pay and by and large Dickensian work conditions. The men she meets(they are almost exclusively male)contrast between old sea dogs who are still able to look back on their service with some semblance of romantic ideal and the newer recruits for whom the work is merely a means to an end often at the cost of their personal lives and in some cases(thanks to a spike in modern day piracy) their actual lives. George paints a picture of an industry caught in flux between the traditions of old and modern market forces that have reduced crews to skeletal numbers even as the ships themselves grow ever larger. The way in which she weaves her portrait though is what makes all the difference, equal parts humorous, insightful and fascinating I would highly recommend this to anyone who has interest in its subject matter or anyone who is in search of a new author of contemporary non fiction.
review 2: Un ensayo sobre las condiciones sociales y laborales de los trabajadores de la industria naviera, que mueve la práctica totalidad de los bienes que consumimos en cualquier parte del mundo, desde iPhones fabricados en China, coches ensamblados en Turquía o la ropa de Zara tejida por trabajadores paupérrimos en edificios insalubres de Bangladés. Las conclusiones son abrumadoras: ser marino mercante apesta, puedes morir, o no cobrar, o en el mejor de los casos aburrirte infinitamente a cambio de un sueldo lamentable que te obliga a estar nueve meses al año sin ver a la familia. Ah, sí, y los dueños de los barcos hacen lo que les sale de la minga, porque básicamente nadie sabe quienes son ni en qué país están. Recomendado si te gusta la logística, los libros-denuncia o simplemente saber un poquito más de cómo funciona el mundo. Le pondría una estrella más pero la traducción es atroz. Es la primera vez en muchos años que veo traducir "billion" por "billones", algo tan de principiante que asusta encontrárselo en una traducción profesional. less
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I enjoyed the blend of anecdotes and statistics. Kept it buoyant.
an interesting insight into life and conditions at sea.
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