Top critical review
Excellent and not so excellent
Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2020
This is a frustrating book -- both excellent and poor. Thus I can only give it a three star review. (if it just had the positive aspects I report below I would have given it five.)
The excellent stuff in the book is in two categories: factual studies and methodology of science.
Excellent chapters that have detailed facts on biological processes, such as photosynthesis, insects using plants, how plants avoid being eaten, smoking and vaping details, etc.
The second category is excellent chapters on the significant faults to guard against in nutritional epidemiological methodology. This includes a great detailed description of the many, many methodological steps needed historically to prove, causally, that smoking leads frequently to lung cancer (and also why it doesn't do so most of the time.)
On the negative side, two more categories: as problems. One is mainly stylistic in that he seems fixated on writing as if he is a potty-mouthed 12 year old who revels in using all the gross words for bodily functions and yucky excretions. It's not cute, but tiresome. Two: despite so much good emphasis on a need for rigorous, logical methodology, he never defines highly processed foods, which is a core topic of the book, and while he bring in John Ioannidis work on methodology, and seems to be quite sympathetic to it, he ultimately waffles and doesn't come down on the side of rigor. Lastly the last chapter (the appendix) on the absurd "study" of prayer as a means of cure is completely worthless and out of place in this book on reason and logic in science.
But if you can hold your nose over the problems, there are some wonderful aspects of this book worth reading.