John Madeley

John Madeley is a best-selling author, journalist and broadcaster, specialising in economic and social development issues, notably international trade, transnational corporations, food and agriculture, aid and human rights.  He is the author of books, newspaper articles and other publications. A prolific writer, recently becoming an octogenarian, he has written twelve published books, eight of them since he was 65. Based in Reading, he keeps in trim with medium-distance cycling. 

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November 2017


John, 82, peacefully passed away March 27, 2017 in Reading, where he had lived and worked for over 40 years. He is survived by his son Stephen, and his daughter Gillian, and was predeceased by his wife Alison, whose care after a stroke had been his main focus for the previous four years. He has five grand-children. As a testament to his life’s work, this website will remain active until it too has run its natural course. Hopefully John’s vision of making poverty history will be closer to being realised by then.

January 2017

John's latest books are:

From the Channel to the Med: A Cycle Ride through France                 

June 2015

John Madeley cycled 750 miles for charity from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. The book (originally titled “Ride for the Future”) is now re-published in Kindle form. This is a personal, first-hand account of the 750 mile ride.

John recorded details of the 14-day ride as he cycled along. And it was a ride with a purpose, as he raised nearly £6,000 for the Intermediate Technology Development Group, visiting selected appropriate technology sites on-route to highlight the urgent need for appropriate technologies. The book will appeal to cyclists and travellers, and to all who are interested in sustainable development. It can be downloaded from: 

To save paper, the book will not be published in hard copy. And should you fancy cycling from the north to the south of France, or any part of the way - the book has a route.

Price 99p

Live Live
Let Live: A bike ride, climate change and the CIA
Climate change is no fiction....but by putting the issue into a story, a novel can reveal its human cost in a profound way.

“Let Live” is a novel about climate change, and more. Through the eyes of an environment journalist on a bike it deals with impact of the change on people affected by it. And it looks at powerful interests that don’t want people to know who is causing it.

Cycling through West and East Africa, the guy on a bike meets people who have been forced from their homes because of the climate change that Western countries are largely causing. He writes critical articles about the West’s failure to curb carbon emissions, and is especially damning of United States policy. The US, he points out, is invading the sovereignty of other countries. The CIA don’t like it, and a plot is hatched to remove him.

Drama and pathos combine with wit and humour to make this a powerful novel for our time. A novel can reveal truth in a profound way. Let Live is one such novel. Set in 2007, in the dying stages of the George W Bush  presidency, the book is a strong challenge to Western government policies on climate change.

“Let Live” is published by Longstone Books. ISBN: 078-0-9568344-1-6;
240 pages, price £8.99.
Also available on Kindle

“Entertaining, sharp, penetrating, an incisive  account of the damage
that climate change is  doing to the poor. A searing indictment of the
policies of Western country governments.  Read it....and demand
action” - Caroline Lucas MP

“A fascinating read, bringing out many poignant issues and experiences, 
amidst a gripping story line” - Jeff Alderson

“Really thought provoking” - Carolyn Thomas

"Another masterstroke of persuasion" - Peter Wedgwood

Tel: +44 118 947 6063

Talk with John
E-mail John on to discuss any of his books or the issues they cover.

Recent books by John:

Beyond Reach?


When a feisty young married woman inspires a church minister, known for his inappropriate choice of women, to join a campaign to end poverty, the result is an explosive mix that takes them into a world that neither bargained for.

Set in 2005 this novel is an eye-witness account of the Make Poverty History campaign, of the scrapes and joys of campaigning for a just cause.

Taking the reader through English suburbia, to Gleneagles in Scotland, and Niger, West Africa, John Madeley tells a sensitive, witty story of a relationship between people who are dedicated to ending poverty, Their relationship energises them for the campaign, leading them to a devastating exposé of government duplicity.

Anyone who took part in the Make Poverty History campaign, who bought a wrist band, who now wants to see the end of poverty, or who just wants a good read, will find this an inspiring book.

‘A revealing story about a scandal of our time, witty, sharp - and above all urgent’ - Rosie Boycott

‘In this amusing novel, John Madeley links modern ethics and politics with the age-old issues of relationships and the meaning of life. All this, with serious intent, too’ - Tim Lang

‘In the tradition of 
Saturday, this outstanding novel weaves together the world of public events with the private world of individual lives’ - Carl Rayer

‘Be warned, this book could change your life’ -
Ann Pettifor

'Beyond Reach? is a wonderful tribute to all those ordinary people who take action against the scandal of global poverty. For those of us who took part in the Make Poverty History campaign, it's also great to revisit the experience of that year' - John Hilary

'A gripping and inspiring story of forbidden love and the struggle for justice. In a hundred years people will look back on our culture of greed and realise books like this helped change the world' - David Rhodes

'A challenging and absorbing read' - Womanalive magazine

'A timely love story that engages the reader's interest from the outset..... will keep you turning pages to the end.  Highly recommended for both readability and relevance!' - Steve Rollins

'An activist's guide to setting up a campaigning organization' - New Internationalist

'Most satisfying is the thorough research' - Church Times

'A story rarely told... of what it is like to be a local campaigner. Manages to highlight the reality of  government positions and manoeuvring too often neglected in many accounts, fictional or otherwise. An enjoyable read' - The Networker

'A real thriller'  - Jeff Alderson

'Asks searching questions about relationships, the nature of love and the meaning of life' - Christian Aid News 

'Compulsory reading for all teachers in training and ordinands. Truly a great marriage of entertainment and purpose' - Revd. Peter Wedgwood

'I finished the book inspired to keep fighting poverty' - Richard Canning

Published by Longstone Books,
ISBN 978-0-9554373-7-3

Price £9.99 (Quantity discounts available. Contact author)

Tel: +44 118 947 6063

Royalties from the book go to agencies who are working to end poverty

"Beyond Reach?" was nominated for The Good Writing Awards 2009   
"Beyond Reach?" is also available on Kindle 

Big Business, Poor Peoples 
How Transnational Corporations Damage the World's Poor (Second Edition) 

December 2008

A snappy guide to how transnational corporations effect the global poor

Updated edition of a best-selling title, with a new chapter and material on climate change and responses to it, such as Biofuels 

Authored by a leading expert and broadcaster on development and environmental issues

First edition sold over 3,500 copies [ISBN: 978 1 85649 672 8]

Publisher: Zed Books      

Paperback Price £ 16.99/ $ 30.95

Paperback ISBN-13: 9781848130333; Paperback ISBN-10: 1848130333

Hardback Price £ 60.00 / $ 99.95

Hardback ISBN-13: 9781848130326; Hardback ISBN-10: 1848130325

Comments on “Big Business, Poor Peoples”

Authoritative and highly readable, Madeley names the names and tells the stories to provide a clear answer to those who cling to the myth that foreign investment, transnational corporations, the IMF, the World Bank and UNDP are an answer to the prayers of the poor.  An excellent book that should be read by everyone committed to ending global poverty.   -          
David Korten

Readable and persuasive....a timely and cogent examination of transnational corporations, the engines that drive globalization.    New Internationalist

50 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade (with Miles Litvinoff).  
February 2007
Fair trade is growing fast, offering hope for the poor from international trade.  50 Reasons To Buy Fair Trade gives powerful reasons for buying these goods. It illustrates how the poor benefit and how consumers can play an important role when they shop. An inspiring guide that shows how everyone can make a difference.
Publisher: Pluto Press.  Price £7.99.  ISBN 0-7453-2584-X

Comments on  50 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade

‘A lively, accessible and inspiring survey of how fair trade is bringing new hope to poor producers around the world.’  Paul Chandler, Chief Executive, Traidcraft

‘The best and most comprehensive guide around to the principles and practice of fair trade.’   Joanna Blythman, food writer and campaigner

‘This well researched, balanced and inspiring book is a great guide to how and why the empowered individual can make a difference.’  
Craig Sams, founder of Green & Blacks

100 ways to Make Poverty History
An Action kit to change your world (September 2005)

It’s time poverty was made history.  We can all contribute to this.  On every page of this book is a simple action plan - 100 effective ideas that could make a real difference to the way that millions of people live in the developing world.

From e-mailing the Prime Minister to local campaigning, making choices about shopping, food and travel, everyone can play an active part in making poverty history.  This is not simply a book of high ideals – there are step-by-step instructions with telephone numbers, website addresses and detailed advice on how to get your message heard.

Publisher Canterbury Press, Price £5.99.  ISBN: 1 85311 683 1

Comments on 100 ways to Make Poverty History

 Has arrived in the nick of time.  Slim and easily digestible...packed with practical ideas - Sarah Meyrick, Church Times.

 ....makes an ideal handbook for youth group leaders looking for project ideas or a private citizen seeking to make a difference.  - Methodist Recorder

 A great book to give to someone we hope will join us in the fight to make poverty history - Enid Fox, Coracle


A Peoples World
Alternatives to Economic Globalization (September 2003)

John Madeley has interviewed some of the world’s most courageous and innovative campaigners and progressive thinkers.  Here is what they think about what globalization really is, what's wrong with it and what are the practicable and concrete alternatives.

Interviewees include: Peggy Antrobus, Walden Bello, Barry Coates, Fiona Dove, Gustavo Esteva, Hazel Henderson, Francois Houtart, Martin Khor, David Korten, Caroline Lucas MEP, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Ann Pettifor, Devinder Sharma, Vandana Shiva and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.  The book strips bare the myth that there are no alternatives to corporate-driven globalization

 The second half the book looks at what needs to happen to enable alternatives to be implemented, paying particular attention to:

•  Tackling corporate power.  Regulation; accountability; restructuring; dismantling; citizen revolt.
  The World Trade Organisation - reform or replace?
  Switching the economic emphasis from the global to the local;
  Cancellation of foreign debt.

An inspiring and relevant book of ideas and practical proposals for a world that is more just, humane, stable and diverse.

Publisher: Zed Books    Hardback: ISBN:1 84277 222 8.  £32.95 Paperback.  ISBN:1 84277 222 6.  £9.99

Food for All
The Need for a New Agriculture (2002)

What kind of agriculture do we need to feed the world?  Governments have committed themselves to halving hunger by the year 2015 as a first step towards food for all.  The target is difficult but achievable. 

The book shows that we already have the experience on which to base a new approach to agricultural production and feeding the world's population.  Millions need better access to the land from which the market forced them, and a more equitable income distribution.  The books outlines the changes that could offer viable and sustainable livelihoods to resource-poor farmers, and, above all, food for the hungry. 

Publisher: Zed Books     Hardback:  ISBN 1 84277 018 7.  £32.95     Paperback ISBN 1 84277 019 5    £9.99

Comments on “Food for All”

I welcome John Madeley’s book....his long experience in the field has enabled him to draw together many strands....I hope that it will stimulate decision makers to muster the necessary political will and resources to tackle the scourges of hunger and malnutrition.    -
Jacques Diouf (Director-General of FAO)

 ....unmasks the global effort to deprive the South of the ability to feed itself .   - Devinder Sharma

Hungry for Trade
How the Poor Pay for Free Trade (2000)

John Madeley explores some key questions about the “free trade” advocated by the World Trade Organisation and others.  He shows how the world’s poor are paying for this “free trade”, how millions have lost their land and their livelihoods because of trade liberalisation. 

The book looks at the effects of international trade in foodstuffs on the poor, and at the role the transnational corporations.  It examines how developing countries can safeguard their farmers from trade liberalisation.  This is a clarion call to remove our ideological blinkers and think afresh.

Publisher: Zed Books       Hardback:   ISBN  1 85649 864 6  £32.95        Paperback: ISBN  1 85649 864 4    £9.99

Comments on “Hungry for Trade”

.....a timely and important resource for the growing debate on trade and agriculture and the review of WTO rules that promote trade at the cost of livelihoods and food security.....This book is an important milestone on the road towards food democracy.  
Vandana Shiva

John Madeley has spent his life advocating the cause of farmers in the poorer countries....His ability to research complex issues like TRIPS, genetically modified foods and the 
CAP, and to explain in simple terms how they are damaging the poor, is astounding.  And we know he is right.     John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich

 * “Hungry for Trade” is the best selling title in Zed Book’s Global Issues series


The above books can be obtained from:

John Madeley, 
19 Woodford Close,
Reading, UK, RG4 7HN    


or from booksellers

John Madeley’s other books are:
"Trade and the Poor: the impact of international trade on developing countries", Intermediate Technology Publications, 1992 and 1995.

"Land is Life: land reform and sustainable agriculture", Intermediate Technology Publications, 1992.  (co-editor)

"When Aid is No Help: how projects fail and how they could succeed", Intermediate Technology Publications, 1991.  (Available from  IT Publications, 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HH)

His other publications include:

"Corporate Control of the Food Chain: the GM link", Consumers International, 2003.
"Crops and Robbers", Action Aid, 2001.
"Food for all: Can hunger be halved?" Panos, 2001.
"The Impact of Trade Liberalisation on Food Security in the South" CIDSE, 2001.
"Trade and hunger", Forum Syd, 2000.
"Brussels' blind spot: the lack of coherence between poverty eradication and the European Union's other policies", Christian Aid/APRODEV, 1999.
"Trade and the Hungry: how international trade is causing hunger", APRODEV, 1999.
"Hungry for Power", UK Food Group, 1999 (editor).
"Foreign Exploits: Transnationals and tourism", CIIR briefing paper, 1996.
"Yours for Food: Plant genetic resources and food security", Christian Aid, 1996.
"Fish: A net loss for the poor"; briefing paper, Panos Institute,1995.
"Tobacco: the Smoke Blows South"; briefing paper, Panos Institute, 1994.
"Who Runs the World?", Christian Aid, 1994, (co-author).
"Winners and Losers: The Impact of the GATT Uruguay Round on Developing Countries", Christian Aid, 1993, (co-author).
"Diego Garcia: Contrast to the Falklands", Minority Rights Group, 1984.
"Human Rights Begin with Breakfast", Pergamon Press/UNA, 1982.
"Planet as Community",  Holystone Publications, 1980.

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