Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear.


408 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-7710-3299-8
DDC 320.01'9





Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a history professor at York University and author of
War and Peacekeeping and For Better or For Worse.


Dan Gardner is a journalist at the Ottawa Citizen, and this well-written, tightly argued book is his first. We live with risk every day—risk of accidents, risk of war and terrorism, risk of business collapse, the risk of attacks on our children, and the risk of failing in love or at school. But just how real are our fears? Gardner looks at psychology and statistical analysis and essentially brings back to earth such “what if” fears as the threat of terrorism that are, 9/11 notwithstanding, all but insignificant compared to such threats as road accidents (which are also much more plentiful than deaths from much safer air travel). The author also looks at the way corporations and politicians, not to mention interest group activists, play on our fears to make money or build support. As a result we live in fear when, in truth, we arguably dwell in the safest society in history. A very good book, this is a careful, taut analysis based on path-breaking research.


Gardner, Dan., “Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/27674.