Ninety Percent of Everything by Rose George Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

ninety percent of everythingNinety Percent of Everything by Rose George; Picador/Henry Holt & Company, 2013.  287 pages; $16.00 (paperback); reading level: adult.

The title of Rose’s book clues us in to her first main point:  ninety percent of the food we eat and the things that fill our homes, cupboards, offices, and yards comes to us by sea. Her second point is that, even as we depend more and more on ships to bring us all that stuff, the industry has become more and more invisible. Ports have moved to deeper, more secure harbors away from cities; the goods transported by ships are hidden away in generic containers; and many ships fly “flags of convenience” that conceal who owns them leaving troubling questions about responsibility when one sinks (as two do per week) and or when a crew member dies at sea (as do two thousand per year). Rose, a self-confessed landlubber, boards a container ship for a five-week voyage to give us an inside view of it all, from ports to pirates, from storms to the solitary lives of the crew. She has to leave the ship on a few “side trips” to complete her picture (which interrupts the continuity of the voyage) and the reading is slow in spots, but, for the most part, she provides revelation after revelation on a subject I was too ignorant to know how ignorant I was.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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