#BookReview: Unraveled by Maxine Bedat

Eye Opening, Yet Critically Flawed. Bedat does *phenomenal* work in this text when reporting what she has found in her investigations of trying to track even a “typical” cotton *garment* from the cotton seed to its eventual use and destruction. Using each chapter as a way to trace one particular step in the chain was truly a stroke of editing genius, as it concentrates just what is happening at that particular stage. And some of it – including the direct link, in Bangladesh at minimum, between garment factories and sex work (where in one particular harrowing tale, a source tells Bedat that when she gets in the van to be taken to a factory as a day worker, she sometimes finds herself at a massage parlor instead) – is utterly horrific. It is these sections of the book that are *so* strong that the book *had* to be rated fairly highly.

HOWEVER, when Bedat speaks almost at *all* of policy or her own opinions… well, this is when the critical flaws become apparent. To be fair, she *is* at least somewhat more balanced than many leftists, and outright points out things that ardent Bernie Sanders / AOC types won’t want to hear. But in her attacks of “neoliberalist capitalism” – a running strawman throughout the narrative – … eh, I’ll be a touch gentle and go with “YMMV”. If you happen to be on that side, you’re going to love her commentary here. If, like me, you find yourself more an adherent of Milton, Mises, Hayek, Bastiat, etc (the so-called “Austrian School of Economics)… you’re not going to like her commentary so much. The star reduction, to be clear, isn’t from the fact that I don’t like much of the commentary – but that I can so easily refute it, despite not being a trained economist (just a – clearly 😉 – well read human :D).

And yet, the actual reporting here is simply too strong, too eye opening. This is a book that *needs* to be read for its current issues reporting, if for no other reason – and even if her commentary leads one to contemplate defenestration of the book. If you’ve read Hafsa Lodi’s Modesty or Virginia Postrel’s Fabric of Civilization (among presumably numerous other recent texts on fashion / clothing/ fabric), do yourself a favor and read this one too. Even if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read all three books. 😉

Very much recommended.

This review of Unraveled by Maxine Bedat was originally written on February 20, 2021.

#BookReview: Poll Dancer by Laura Heffernan

Novel: Awesome. Commentary: Meh. As a novel, this book was solid. Maybe a bit too weighed down in social commentary, particularly in the back third, and nowhere near as refreshing as the author’s Gamer Girls series (whose third book this one takes some elements of), but a mostly solid tale with some genuinely hilarious moments nonetheless. Meets pretty much all RWA standards I am aware of.

But as someone who has ran (unsuccessfully) for rural small town public office (City Council of a town literally 4 sq miles in area) twice, the politics… your feelings about AOC will likely tell you whether you should consider this book from that angle. She is the lead character’s idol, and somewhat blatant character model. From my own experience working within the highest echelons of a State Assembly as a blogger and political activist, the action tends to break down on these levels, but I know more than most about these things and the action does indeed fall along how most think of them. So perhaps no real foul there.

Still, overall truly a solid book, particularly if you can set aside your own political inclinations and experiences and simply enjoy the tale being presented. Very much recommended.

This review of Poll Dancer by Laura Heffernan was originally written on June 14, 2020.