“Falling Off The Edge: Travels Through The Dark Heart Of Globalization”, by Alex Perry

So I’ve been to some crazy places in this world (Cuba without a visa, Northwest Frontier of Pakistan with minimal bodyguards) but I’ve got nothing on a war correspondant like Alex Perry.

His book, “Falling Off The Edge: Travels Through The Dark Heart Of Globalization” is not the anti-globalization screed you might expect it to be.

Though he does point out that many of the negative consequences we have brought upon ourselves by our pursuit of falling global trade barriers, the more interesting thesis of the book is in showing that in a globalized world, very little that happens anywhere fails to have global implications.  If you ponder that for a second, you’ll come to realize that non-agenda laden observation is not a good thing for Americans (or anyone in the civilized world).

The examples are numerous and engaging, including:

  • A trip to Shenzhen, China, where most of the electronics (including iPhones and iPods) we obsess over are made, and a hard look at the economics of electronics manufacturing and the human rights abuses in the supply chain.
  • A first hand account of the famous battle at Qala-i-Jangi prison in Afghanistan, where inmates overtook their captors and the first American was killed in the beginning of the Afghan war.  The battle was a truly global one, with soldiers of several different nationalities participating in the fighting.
  • Accounts of how a torrential rain brought Bombay/Mumbai to it’s knees, and reminded the billionaires that reside there just how extreme their wealth is, and how close they live to people in diametric poverty.
  • Interviews with “pirate kings” on Babi Island, in Indonesian waters, who disrupt global shipping for pennies compared to the worth of their cargo.

Though it certainly isn’t lacking in the analysis of globalization’s impact, Perry tells an entertaining and engaging story, so this book is for those who find the less touristy parts of the world interesting, especially the dangerous ones.  Pick it up from Amazon.