Is organic really organic?


Islington Green: a book of revelation
John Emsley
Publicola Publishing
2012 | 96pp | £10 (PB)
ISBN 9780957227705
Reviewed by Harriet Gould

A book about chemistry, even when written for the layman, may be the last place I expected to discover an enchanting love story. Happily, in between tales of molecular structures and the debate about recyclable plastic, this welcome distraction is precisely what I discovered in Islington Green and, indeed, was what encouraged me to read on!

John Emsley’s earnest, well-meaning north London couple took me through an array of moral and practical dilemmas – ones which many of us face – surrounding sustainability and the use of chemicals in everyday life. This is almost a devil’s advocate approach, with some delightfully good natured debate coupled with evidential proof and a glimpse of the evolution of the chemical industry.

Amid the couple’s enlightening discoveries, made through trial and error and disguised as modern day north London living, I detected a glimmer of bias towards the benefits of chemicals. As the story unfolds this proves entirely justifiable. Nevertheless, the content is hugely valuable and should serve as an educational gem for the young, inexperienced chemist, as well as a useful tool to aid anyone’s debate as to whether organic is best, or indeed if organic really is organic!

Purchase Islington Green from Amazon.co.uk


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