Reviews of The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World’s Poorest Patients (New Press, 2006)

“Fast paced and highly readable…a good antidote to the usual historical presentation…will provoke lively discussion in any classroom.” –The American Journal of Bioethics, 2008, 8(2):52
“Shah’s book raises important issues and is a good conversation starter…For those interested in clinical trials, medical ethics, and health care delivery this book is a welcome addition.” -Psychiatric Services,  February 2008
“Lucid…an engaging and valuable book. As an investigative journalist…Shah is an experienced muckracker, and if any business has muck that deserves to be raked, it is the clinical trials industry.” -The American Prospect
“Shah has produced a well researched and passionately argued analysis of an important and rapidly developing field.” -British Medical Journal, February 24, 2007

“Deftly sketch[ed]…a convincing case…This is a painstakingly researched expose; Shah is a skilful guide, presenting quite convoluted events and the science involved with a storyteller’s craft. Knowing Big Pharma’s penchant for litigation, this is a brave book and the author’s vigorous style makes it a real page-turner.” —New Internationalist, December 2006

“A readable book that flows, at times, like a detective novel. Shah has a good story to tell. And like any competent journalist, she tells it well, with three-dimensional characters that stand out from the page, and a narrative style that carries her argument along at a brisk pace.” —The Lancet, November 18, 2006
“An accessible account… important…powerful…derive[d] from a rich set of sources…. It is critical that those engaged in drug development, clinical research and its oversight, research ethics, and policy know about these stories.” —New England Journal of Medicine, December 7, 2006
“Devastating…This is a tough book to read, shocking, and frequently depressing. But anyone who has relied on 21st-century science to heal what ails them should take a look.” —San Diego Union-Tribune, September 24, 2006
“Investigative journalist Sonia Shah has written a lucid, well-researched work on professional and governmental corruption and mismanagement… It deserves the attention of leaders of the medical profession and policy analysts.” —JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association, November 1, 2006, 2149-50
“Her terse, unsentimental reportage is admirable, and the book offers a nuanced argument that recognises the need for testing of new drugs, but denounces the double standard between rich and poor patients.” —The Guardian, October 14, 2006
“Shah’s book is more than a work of courage: it is the calculated risk of a highly skilled investigative journalist who has marshalled her facts so thoroughly and efficiently as to be legally bulletproof. Perhaps only an investigative reporter would appreciate the depth and scope of Shah’s research, but any reader will recognize the irrefutable conclusions drawn by her journalism — which is that big pharmaceutical companies and their researchers, faced with an unwillingness on the part of educated Western subjects to allow themselves to be used as medical guinea pigs, are increasingly turning to the poor and ignorant of the Third World to test their drugs….This book deserves to be widely read and discussed. Buy a copy, read it, and then send it to your Member of Parliament.” —Edmonton Journal, September 17, 2006
“Journalist Shah isn’t afraid to ask hard questions. …With references to medical experimentation’s grim history, including Nazi concentration-camp inmate “studies” and the Tuskegee syphilis study, Shah reveals how the poor, underinformed, or simply powerless have born the weight of medical advances. The story is as big as the issue is complex, and Shah’s heavily documented account endeavors to be evenhanded, given what are clearly her own feelings about the topic.” —Booklist
“Government officials from India and other developing countries that seek to exapnd the local presence of the commercial clinical trials ‘industry’ should read this book, as should patient advocates everywhere.” —James Love, director, Consumer Project on Technology
“Impressive and very much needed.” —Vincent Navarro, professor of health policy, Johns Hopkins University
“This eye-opening account offers an inside look into how the pharmaceutical industry, aided and abetted by FDA policies, carries out ethically problematic research in developing countries.” —Ruth Macklin, professor of bioethics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“Shah’s ‘The Body Hunters’ draws a two-pronged conclusion about Big Pharma: that it is too aggressive about ‘body-hunting’ vulnerable patients to test some drugs—ones that can be marketed in the West—but not aggressive enough in researching and providing others, particularly those with less profit potential.” —Boston Globe, July 2, 2006. (Read the full article.)
“Having spent years gathering research in Africa and Asia, investigative journalist Shah…explores the ethical issues involved….she provides compelling evidence and suggests solutions that would still provide clinical data without exploiting the poor.” —Library Journal, June 15, 2006
“Raises the curtain on a trend that’s harming patients and health care systems.” —Alternet, June 9, 2006
“A trenchant exposé…Meticulously researched and packed with documentary evidence, Shah’s tautly argued study will provoke much needed public debate about this disturbing facet of globalization.” –Publishers Weekly, May 1, 2006
“This book is an act of courage on the part of its author and its publishers…Using clear, accessible language and carefully annotated case histories, Sonia Shah struck a blow for all who dream of harnessing the huge power for good that is invested in the pharmaceutical industry, of seeing its products made available to those who most need them, and of curtailing the greed that drives its worst practices.” —John Le Carré, from the preface to The Body Hunters


Reviews of Crude: The Story of Oil (Seven Stories Press, 2004)

“Comprehensive without being overwhelming…well-researched…eminently readable.” -Online Journal, April 2, 2007
“Her compelling account illuminates how oil reserves came to be and how this cheap fuel shaped the U.S. auto industry, contributed to human-rights abuses and rapid climate change, and created the ‘petrolife’ Americans enjoy today.” -Sierra magazine

“Challenging current attempts at obfuscation and oversimplification, Sonia Shah’s Crude: The Story of Oil tackles an issue that has fueled society, politics, and environmental destruction for over 100 years.” In the Fray magazine, February 7, 2005. Read the review

“A definitive new book on oil.” —Playboy magazine, July 2005
“Shah has written a brilliant book—This is not a Michael Moore-style anti-corporate rant—Shah writes beautifully, with dispassionate, elegant clarity—and it is all the more powerful for it.” —The Guardian, February 26, 2005.
Read the full review >
“If someone sitting in air-conditioned comfort in one part of the world believes that what happens in Iraq or Nigeria, Venezuela or Colombia doesn’t affect him or her, Sonia Shah’s Crude: The Story of Oil takes that little daydream and shakes it up…[Shah] has written a book that couldn’t be more relevant.” —USA Today, October 17, 2004.
Read the full review >
“Sonia Shah—deftly [shows] how the oil companies’ relentless pursuit of new fields to exploit has led them to drill for oil in some of the most impoverished and unstable areas of the world—particularly eloquent on the despoliation of the Delta region of southern Nigeria.” —Michael Klare, The Nation, November 8, 2004
“Though Shah could have easily written a laundry list on the disruptions Big Oil and its government cohorts continue to wreak, this volume is more than that – it is an insightful missive to her readers to understand their consumptive reality. In her steady tone, she presents the danger signs—When she looks into a sci-fi future where humankind interfaces with the next great epoch of crude, the scene shows moment that Shah eloquently challenges us to rise to—right here and now.” —Clamor magazine
“Sonia Shah is an elegant writer and her captivating history of the world’s most critical natural resource is impossible to put down. The lure of “black gold” haunts every page as Shah illuminates the roots of our prime energy source, the science, the economics, the lore and the politic…how our obsession with oil began and how it dominates our existence. Indeed, to understand the story of oil, one must dig deep. The author begins with its birth, hundreds of millions of years ago and brings us to the exploration and exploitation of today. Herein lies the mystery of the planet’s future and the fate of mankind. Crude is so compelling you will soar through its pages and share it with others. It’s surely one of the most important books of the year.” -Dingbat magazine: the monthly review of cool tools
“Flitting somewhere between Naomi Klein’s No Logo and Michael Moore’s films…Crude presents a monumental amount of research.” –Courier Mail (Brisbane, Australia), April 2-3, 2005
“A stinging jeremiad—deft—Shah has a crisp writing style and that knack for deploying statistics judiciously, rather than maniacally—most rewarding.” —The Age (Melbourne, Australia), April 16, 2005
“Could hardly be timelier.” —Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia), April 16, 2005


Reviews of Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire (South End Press, 1997)

“Dragon Ladies explores the emergence of a distinct Asian American feminist movement through the rich perspectives of well-known Asian American activists, writers, and artists who analyze personal experiences through a political lens.” —Ms. Magazine

“Sonia Shah cultivates a unique space for the feminist movement and the intricacies of Asian American life…Shah’s group of 28 powerful writers courageously strike each page with thought-provoking subjects.” —The Chicago Reporter

“Dragon Ladies, a collection of essays by Asian American women representing an impressive range of experience, takes apart the concepts of ‘women,’ ‘feminism,’ ‘Asian,’ and ‘Asian American,’ and thoughtfully and thoroughly examines the pieces…The first hand accounts or organizing struggles, spiritual awakenings, and punk-rock culture clashes make gripping reading.” —The Workbook

“Dragon Ladies is the first book about Asian American feminists that will have a broad audience and a profound impact…Shah successfully fulfills her purpose…too many stellar essays to list…Should be required reading in women’s studies courses and book groups.” —Bitch magazine

“A groundbreaking new book on Asian/Asian American feminism.” —Sojourner: the women’s forum

“The growing politicization of Asian American women and their involvement in feminism is charted in a title which gathers the experiences and influences of writers, artists, and activists alike. Insights on Asian households, generational and gender differences in opinions and approaches to politics and platforms for action and change make for fine accounts.” —The Bookwatch

“These essays provide a call to action and a unifying force.” —On Campus with Women: Association of American Colleges and Universities

“Make[s] it clear that Asian immigrants in the US are giving feminism a new political, economic and social dimension.” —WATERWheel

“An inspiring and long-overdue antidote that allows Asian-American women to represent themselves—as fierce, competent, intelligent and strong.” —Hues magazine

“A significant contribution…both timely and relevant.” —University of Iowa Women’s Studies Newsletter

“Dragon Ladies…features prominent Asian American writers, scholars and activists…These women warriors don’t mince words in the collection’s sixteen critical essays.” —Sister to Sister

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