False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear

Overview

Life today for citizens of the developed world is safer, easier, and healthier than for any other people in history thanks to modern medicine, science, technology, and intelligence. So why is an epidemic of fear sweeping America? The answer, according to nationally renowned health commentator Dr. Marc Siegel, is that we live in an artificially created culture of fear. In False Alarm, Siegel identifies three major catalysts of the culture of fear—government, the media, and big pharma. With fascinating, ...

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False Alarm: The Truth about the Epidemic of Fear

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Overview

Life today for citizens of the developed world is safer, easier, and healthier than for any other people in history thanks to modern medicine, science, technology, and intelligence. So why is an epidemic of fear sweeping America? The answer, according to nationally renowned health commentator Dr. Marc Siegel, is that we live in an artificially created culture of fear. In False Alarm, Siegel identifies three major catalysts of the culture of fear—government, the media, and big pharma. With fascinating, blow-by-blow analyses of the most sensational false alarms of the past few years, he shows how these fearmongers manipulate our most primitive instincts—often without our even realizing it. False Alarm shows us how to look behind the hype and hysteria, inoculate ourselves against fear tactics, and develop the emotional and intellectual skills needed to take back our lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Jerome Groopman
Marc Siegel is an articulate voice of reason in a world beset by hype and hysteria. We would be well advised to listen closely to what he has to say.
The New Yorker
David Corn
In this masterful and provocative work, Dr. Marc Siegel, an accomplished physician and author, skillfully dissects our present-day culture of fearmongering. An engaging and readable blend of science, politics, and social criticism, False Alarm--fully supported by extensive research--is an eloquently written and unflinching exploration of fear (real and imagined) in the modern world. Most importantly, Siegel exposes how government officials, the media, and the pharmaceutical industry exploit--and spread--fear for profit and power. They all should be scared of this powerful book.
The Nation
Publishers Weekly
I write these words on the very day that multiple bombings occurred on London's transit system. It is hard not to feel personally threatened, particularly when the aftermath becomes the focus of worldwide attention and nonstop media coverage. And therein, unfortunately, lies the power of such destruction, as the terrorists well know. After such news, we are reminded yet again of the fragility of life and the depth of love we feel for friends and family. We offer grave concern and heartfelt prayers for the dead and injured. We vow to find better ways to heighten security. We do what we can to calm ourselves and not be overtaken by fear physiology. In these days of great uncertainty, it is reassuring to learn that some of our worst-case scenarios will not necessarily come true. Such is the premise of Dr. Siegel's False Alarm. To put alarmist tendencies in perspective: over 58,000 soldiers died or were missing in action in Vietnam; on average over one million people are killed annually-and another 50 million injured-in traffic accidents around the world. In the United States, traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 35. Though it is little consolation to anyone understandably concerned about their loved ones in today's climate, it is nonetheless true that the likelihood of being involved in a terrorist incident is remarkably low. One is more likely to get killed crossing the street. Affected as we all were by the events of September 11, and subsequently inspired to study "the process by which dangers were manufactured and provoked," Siegel has compiled a remarkable response to what he calls our "newfound vulnerability" and the "ongoing doom-and-gloom of the daily news." The title of Siegel's exploration, False Alarm, is a powerful, provocative and well-chosen oxymoron. Highly qualified and deeply motivated, Siegel has conducted an intensive and much needed study of the ramifications of living in a time of pervasive fear, when we are constantly threatened with the prospect of biological and/or nuclear warfare. With so much attention paid to that which we cannot control, it is easy to lose sight of, and neglect, behavioral and lifestyle choices that clearly impact the quality of our lives. In addition, important, global health issues tend to get swept under the rug, while hysteria multiplies. Legitimate concerns go unaddressed, and valuable resources are wasted. Siegel has done us a great service. His thorough research illuminates the biological, political, psychological and sociological facets of this important topic, and offers an alternative to the current landscape of perpetual high drama and pathological fear. I enthusiastically endorse his efforts, and urge readers to take his message to heart. This is a terrific and groundbreaking book. (Aug. 26) Bob Kerrey is president of The New School, a former governor and senator from Nebraska, and member of the 9/11 Commission. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Anthrax, vaccine shortages, and SARS, oh my! Americans have been pummeled with an endless series of apparent threats. Siegel makes a passionate argument that the only thing we have to fear is, indeed, our own paranoia. Reason, he says, is the best vaccination for this epidemic." (Psychology Today, September/October 2005)

"Marc Siegel tries to reduce the hysteria quotient with a straightforward recitation of facts and statistics. Recalling the famous Orson Welles broadcast of "The War of the Worlds," Siegel tries all too sensibly (and one suspects futilely) to assess risk accurately and respond only to "plausible" threats such as the vulnerability of our container ships or "loose nukes" in former Soviet republics." (Benamin Barber, Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470053843
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/22/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 788,323
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.88 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

MARC SIEGEL, M.D., is a practicing internist, an associate professor at the New York University School of Medicine, and a Fellow in the Master Scholars Society at New York University. He is a columnist for the New York Daily News and Tribune Media Services, a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Family Circle, and the Washington Post. Siegel has appeared regularly on the Today show, The Early Show on CBS, FOX News Channel, ABC News, CNN, and NPR.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : the fear epidemic 1
Pt. I Fight or flight
1 Why are we so afraid? 13
2 It works for animals but not for us 23
3 Our culture of worry 36
4 Playing politics with fear 50
5 Disasters : real or imagined 65
6 Finding things to worry about 75
7 Profiting from fear 88
Pt. II Bugs du jour
8 Anthrax 107
9 Insects, pox, and lethal gas 125
10 SARS 142
11 Flu 153
12 Cows, birds, and humans 161
Pt. III Healing fear
13 The fear prophets 183
14 Is there a cure for fear? 194
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2005

    Amazing inside

    Amazing inside to the real truth. Somebody finally speaks out on how 'real' the fear people use against us. Author relys inside imformation and personal experiences from his life. One word to describe this book is 'amazing'.

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