A History of the Future: A World Made By Hand Novel

Overview


A History of the Future is the third thrilling novel in Kunstler’s "World Made By Hand" series, an exploration of family and morality as played out in the small town of Union Grove.

Following the catastrophes of the twenty-first century—the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos—people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are ...

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A History of the Future: A World Made By Hand Novel

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Overview


A History of the Future is the third thrilling novel in Kunstler’s "World Made By Hand" series, an exploration of family and morality as played out in the small town of Union Grove.

Following the catastrophes of the twenty-first century—the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos—people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are preparing for Christmas. Without the consumerist shopping frenzy that dogged the holidays of the previous age, the season has become a time to focus on family and loved ones. It is a stormy Christmas Eve when Robert Earle’s son Daniel arrives back from his two years of sojourning throughout what is left of the United States. He collapses from exhaustion and illness, but as he recovers tells the story of the break-up of the nation into three uneasy independent regions and his journey into the dark heart of the New Foxfire Republic centered in Tennesee and led by the female evangelical despot, Loving Morrow. In the background, Union Grove has been shocked by the Christmas Eve double murder by a young mother, in the throes of illness, of her husband and infant son. Town magistrate Stephen Bullock is in a hanging mood.

A History of the Future is attention-grabbing and provocative, but also lyrical, tender, and comic—a vision of a future of America that is becoming more and more convincing and perhaps even desirable with each passing day.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Advance Praise for A History of the Future:

Kunstler’s post-economic-collapse and postdigital World Made by Hand series continues with increasing literary finesse in the third installment. . . . Kunstler, who overtly articulates his postoil vision in his nonfiction revels in this back-to-basics way of life. . . . Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative pageturner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric World Made by Hand series will continue."—Booklist (starred review)

Praise for the World Made by Hand series:

“Far from a typical postapocalyptic novel. It caters neither to a pseudo-morbid nor faddishly slick vision of the future. Though grim with portent, it is ultimately, as Camus’s novel The Plague, an impassioned and invigorating tale whose ultimate message is one of hope, not despair.”—San Francisco Chronicle on World Made by Hand

“The verisimilitude of Kunstler’s world leads me to think the future is Union Grove. Thirty years from now, it will be interesting to see if that little town seems excessively sad, richly luxurious or spot on. But for now, I’m hedging my bets. Where I Live, one block east of ground zero, I’ve started keeping a compost bin and am thinking about adding a micro wind generator. Two blocks south, the damaged former Deutsche Bank building comes down floor by floor. To the north, the Freedom Tower has just emerged aboveground and may one day be full of investment bankers. Recently, though, I’ve started looking at that plot through Kunstler’s eyes. It gets good sunlight, and it occurs to me it would make a hell of a bean field.”—The New York Times Book Review on World Made by Hand

“Chronicles the aftereffects of the collapse of our technological society in the near future . . . Kunstler’s storytelling talents are in evidence here. …Kunstler has punctuated the nightmarish scenario of his novel with . . . poignant moments where hope and despair vie for dominance of the human spirit.” —The Seattle Times on World Made by Hand

“In many ways [The Witch of Hebron] reminded me of Larry McMurty’s Lonesome Dove, set in the dystopian world of The Road. . . . By the middle of the book you are immersed in a richly imagined ‘world made by hand,’ eagerly devouring every page. . . . [Kunstler] has woven his nightmares into a vision or America after a complete economic, political, and cultural collapse.”—New York Journal of Books on The Witch of Hebron

“Kunstler offers a sharply cautionary tale, conjuring up bizarre characters who would be right at home in the scariest haunted houses. . . . Kunstler excels at writing lyric passages about nature . . . His acute pessimism about the future coexists with his faith in the human instinct to survive and adapt . . . [and] he demonstrates that the human penchant for storytelling is unlikely ever to become extinct so long as a single human being has breath enough to speak and strength enough to write.”—America Magazine on The Witch of Hebron

"What's after Armageddon? No government, no laws, no infrastructure, no oil, no industry....and sometimes a sense of relief. In James Howard Kunstler's richly imagined World Made by Hand, the bone-weary denizens of Union Grove (with its echo of Our Town's Grover's Corners) cope with everything from mercenary thugs to religious extremists, yet manage to plant a few seeds of human decency that bear fruit."—O Magazine on World Made by Hand

“One pitfall in painting a convincing picture of the future is forgetting all the small ways in which life would differ if big changes swept in. Kunstler avoids it, and his catalog of such finer points is a subtle, continuing pleasure.”—The Boston Globe on World Made by Hand

Library Journal
03/15/2014
It's not every novelist who regularly speaks at TED conferences, but it's not every novelist who forthrightly addresses environmental crisis and the fate of the earth. In this third in Kunstler's "World Made by Hand" series, we return to the post-oil as energy world of Union Grove, NY, on Christmas eve, as Robert Earle's son Daniel returns home to inform guests around the tree that the nation has split into three tense and uncertain regions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802122520
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 187,292
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


James Howard Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He is the author of twelve novels, including World Made By Hand and The Witch of Hebron, and four nonfiction books, including The Long Emergency. He is a frequent lecturer at colleges and professional organizations across the country. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.
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