Breaking Ships: How Supertankers and Cargo Ships Are Dismantled on the Beaches of Bangladesh

Roland Buerk, Author, Roland Buerk, Photographer, Michael Sanders, Foreword by Chamberlain Brothers $19.95 (167p) ISBN 978-1-59609-036-1
BBC correspondent Buerk takes the Upton Sinclair route to chronicling the six-month process of disassembling a 38,000-ton oil tanker on the beaches of Bangladesh. He's sympathetic toward workers' plights (the work, as readers are constantly reminded, is backbreaking, and the slums are wretched) and disdainful of the fatcats who, ""even in the low season, do well."" Each worker profiled is worse off than the previous, though all are ensnared in a relentless cycle of poverty, while wealthy merchants chuckle and talk on cell phones as they bid on materials salvaged from the ships (by bleeding, sweating workers who earn a dollar a day). Buerk's picked a fascinating subject, but readers may be put off by his soapboxing.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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