What is the basic problem with the corn and ethanol subsidies? To fill up an SUV with ethanol, it takes 450 pounds of corn, which contains enough calorie to feed a poor person for a year.Four hundred and fifty pounds equals to 204 kilograms. And that's a lot of corn.
And about the book, it's an interesting reading that tells you how messing up the market price may lead to disastrous (unintended) impact. Recommended additional reading list for students of undergraduate's Microeconomics Theory (a.k.a price theory).