- McLibel -

McLibel - Burger Culture on Trial, by John Vidal

Posted by: Robert Alcock ( University College Dublin, Ireland ) on May 30, 1997 at 14:07:04:

> [you've won the book] We would be pleased to receive your opinions about
> the book when you have read it and would like to post them on McSpotlight.

OK, here goes. McLibel - Burger Culture on Trial by John Vidal, Macmillan 15.99

Given that the verdict has not yet (May 1997) been delivered, a book on the McLibel trial might seem a bit hasty. In fact, the introduction admits that "McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial" was researched in six weeks. Also, McDonalds refused to comment on the book or the trial (pre-verdict). The author's sympathies lie with Morris and Steel (the prominent Morris quote on the back cover - "It's lucky they only make f***ing hamburgers" - says it all), and the epilogue is actually written by the defendants.
So is this just McSpotlight in book form? Not quite. Vidal is an award-winning Guardian journalist and his book (sometimes) shows it. Tantalising personal details glint through the layers of legalese (Ray Kroc, McDonalds' founder, started out as a jazz pianist; McDonald's sent baby clothes to Morris to find out his address). The book's political perspective (made explicit in the two penultimate chapters) is from a leftish, "civil society" position which, while worlds away from the dog-eat-dog capitalism of McDonalds, is also distinct from the Green anarchism of Steel and Morris (and McSpotlight).
Small-is-beautiful, "localist" movements are seen not as an end in themselves but as a response to out-of-control globalism.
Respect to Vidal for writing it and Macmillan for publishing it, but on
balance I would say, if you have web access (and you obviously do or you'd not be reading this), then read McSpotlight instead and send them the 15.99. No honestly, this is my real opinion, those McSpotlight goons didn't hold me at monkeywrench-point.

Alternatively, pop round and borrow my copy.

Robert Alcock

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