No one these days has any excuse for not knowing about the sweatshops where so much of our clothing is produced, but Andrew Brooks looks deeper into the global rag trade, including the second-hand garment industry, which leads to our old cast-offs being sold on market stalls in countries like Mozambique, not being distributed amongst the needy, as many people think.

He's amassed a lot of information in one well-researched and revealing book. Starting off by tracing the biography of a single pair of jeans, and using research from numerous countries in the developing world, Brooks shows how large and profitable the recycled clothing business is, even pointing out links with organised crime. But this is just one strand in his study of the leading role played by clothes in commerce between the West and the Third World, from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution to the globalised market of today, in which China has emerged as the dominant player.