Andrew's Reviews > The Establishment: And how they get away with it

The Establishment by Owen   Jones
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's review

it was ok

I'll start by saying that I think Owen has a point. The police, political parties, bankers, and big business all protect their own interests, and over time those interests have become intertwined to the point that they all look out for one another. That much, I believe, is true.

My issue with the book is twofold:
1. It's not particularly well investigated. Much of the book is a summary of what's in the public domain (the death of Ian Tomlinson, the Hillsborough catastrophe etc) and is not investigative, illuminating or revelatory in any way. A lot of his interviews spend more time talking about where they met, the decor of the offices of his correspondent, or the fact that (shock!) many of them are charming and engaging. The interviews themselves are given maybe two or three quotes, often without context.
2. The incidents he mentions do not hang together to make the case particularly well. Hillsborough was a catastrophe; the police behaviour was inexcusable and caused the death of many innocent people; but is it a symbol of an illuminati-like network of the powerful and corrupt? Only within the police. There are a number of similar cases throughout the book; because of the fragmented nature of his journalism, the case doesn't hang together well and much of his evidence is circumstantial or anecdotal.

All this adds up to a wasted opportunity and a rushed, disappointing, unconvincing book. The conclusion is most likely right; but the evidence in this book is scant. And his solution to the status quo is thrown in at the end, without evidence, care or expertise - it's so superficial as to be worthless.
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Reading Progress

April 15, 2015 – Started Reading
April 15, 2015 – Shelved
May 5, 2015 – Finished Reading

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