The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

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by James Howard Kunstler
     
 

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A controversial hit that sparked debate among businessmen, environmentalists, and bloggers, The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler is an eye-opening look at the unprecedented challenges we face in the years ahead, as oil runs out and the global systems built on it are forced to change radically.See more details below

Overview

A controversial hit that sparked debate among businessmen, environmentalists, and bloggers, The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler is an eye-opening look at the unprecedented challenges we face in the years ahead, as oil runs out and the global systems built on it are forced to change radically.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“It used to be that only environmentalists and paranoids warned about the world running out of oil and the future it could bring: crashing economies, resource wars, social breakdown, agony at the pump. Not anymore. . . . America’s dependence on oil is too pervasive to undo quickly, [Kunstler] warns. . . . In the meantime, we’ll have our hands full dealing with . . . the soaring temperatures, rising sea levels and mega-droughts brought by global climate change. Not long ago, a Jeremiah like Kunstler would have been dismissed as a kook. . . . As brilliant as it is baleful . . . and we disregard it at our peril.” —The Washington Post

“This is a frightening and important book.” —Time Out Chicago

“If you give a damn, you should read this book.” —Colin Tudge, The Independent

“What sets The Long Emergency apart…is its comprehensive sweep—its powerful integration of science, technology, economics, finance, international politics and social change, along with a fascinating attempt to peer into a chaotic future. Kunstler is such a compelling and sometimes eloquent writer that the book is hard to put down.” –American Scientist

“[A] popular blueprint for surviving the end of oil.” —Paul Greenberg, The New York Times Book Review

“Funny, irreverent, and blunt.” –The Globe and Mail

“An especial strength of this book is its break with some of the more pernicious strands in the contemporary left, specifically the left’s kneejerk rejection of America acting militarily in its national interest. . . . There are hints of Malthus here, and of Oswald Spangler’s Decline of the West as well. Mr. Kunstler’s book is a jeremiad, driven by authorial presence. Pithy, entertaining descriptions of historical phenomena like the Soviet Union . . . enliven the text, allowing the veteran commentator to expound on themes that might read leaden by a less facile wordsmith. . . . The book succeeds as an accessible primer to a looming crisis that could end the American way of life.” —A.G. Gancarski, Washington Times

“Kunstler is an amusing and engaging observer and polemicist, and the terrain he surveys is unforgiving and perilous.” —Robert Birnbaum, The Morning News

“Novelist and journalist James Howard Kunstler is the leading popular voice of peak oil, the theory that says we have gone through more than half the world’s supply of this much-needed resource. Kunstler’s regular Monday morning posts foretell a world beset by oil shortages, which he believes will lead to everything from financial shenanigans (sound familiar?) to food riots, not to mention attacks on the wealthy, abandoned suburban housing developments and a forced return to small-town living.” —Helaine Olen, Portfolio

“Kunstler displays a kind of macabre wit about the unpleasantness and strife that await us all. . . . His assertions have a neat way of doubling back to anticipate your critiques. If you express doubt about his views, then you may well be among the deluded masses too addicted to your McSUV and McSuburb to accept the reality that lies ahead.”
—Katharine Mieszkowski, salon.com

“Kunstler is America’s version of an Old Testament prophet, a stinging social critic who warns of dark days ahead if we do not change the way we live.” —Brian Kaller, Pulse

“Kunstler’s book was shockingly readable and engaging….He covers a vast array of topics…I felt like I’d taken a crash course on Big Oil, Global Warming, and Geopolitics just to name a few.”—Romi Lassally, Huffington Post

“James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency may be destined to become the Dante’s Inferno of the twenty-first century. It graphically depicts the horrific punishments that lie ahead for Americans for more than a century of sinful consumption and sprawling communities, fueled by the profligate use of cheap oil and gas. Its central message—that the country will pay dearly unless it urgently develops new, sustainable community-scale food systems, energy sources, and living patterns—should be read, digested, and acted upon by every conscientious U.S. politician and citizen.” —Michael Shuman, author of Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age

“If you give a damn, you should read this book.” —Colin Tudge, The Independent (UK)

“Kunstler concentrates on the continuing environmental instability and the political consequences of the fuel cessation in equal bouts and this makes for a well rounded argument.” —Buzz (UK)

“In the annals of doomsday literature . . . The Long Emergency is destined to become the new standard. . . . Demands frank consideration of what up to now has been unthinkable: that the ascendancy of the human race might have been a temporary phenomenon. . . . This case has been made before, but here it is made powerfully and articulately, with no apology and no hint of reprieve. . . . The Long Emergency represents a ‘wake-up call’ in the same sense that a hand grenade tossed through your bedroom window might serve as an alarm clock. The book is stark and frightening. Read it soon.” —Jim Charlier, Daily Camera

“A shrewd and engaging social commentator.” —Sierra Atlantic

“Adds a relentless, scary, and entertaining voice to the rising alarm about life after the cheap oil is gone. . . . The internal logic of the argument is persuasive, and one reads . . . the book with white knuckles.” —Bryant Urstadt, technologyreview.com

“Authoritative and eye-opening. His predictions for the future make for a page-turning ‘Brave New World.’” —T-D (London)

“James Howard Kunstler has given us, with his usual engaging wit and verve, a new kind of post-apocalypse scenario. Instead of the nuclear or ice-age wasteland of our earlier imaginings, he has depicted with detailed extrapolation the civilization of the United States after the oil runs out and a great economic collapse occurs. It is a strangely arcadian vision, like the agrarian America that Jefferson, Calhoun, and the Southern Agrarians dreamed of. But Kunstler has fleshed it out with delightful quirky insights and provided our science fiction writers with a fresh mise-en-scene.” —Frederick Turner, author of The New World and The Culture of Hope

Publishers Weekly
The indictment of suburbia and the car culture that the author presented in The Geography of Nowhere turns apocalyptic in this vigorous, if overwrought, jeremiad. Kunstler notes signs that global oil production has peaked and will soon dwindle, and argues in an eye-opening, although not entirely convincing, analysis that alternative energy sources cannot fill the gap, especially in transportation. The result will be a Dark Age in which "the center does not hold" and "all bets are off about civilization's future." Absent cheap oil, auto-dependent suburbs and big cities will collapse, along with industry and mechanized agriculture; serfdom and horse-drawn carts will stage a comeback; hunger will cause massive "die-back"; otherwise "impotent" governments will engineer "designer viruses" to cull the surplus population; and Asian pirates will plunder California. Kunstler takes a grim satisfaction in this prospect, which promises to settle his many grudges against modernity. A "dazed and crippled America," he hopes, will regroup around walkable, human-scale towns; organic local economies of small farmers and tradesmen will replace an alienating corporate globalism; strong bonds of social solidarity will be reforged; and our heedless, childish culture of consumerism will be forced to grow up. Kunstler's critique of contemporary society is caustic and scintillating as usual, but his prognostications strain credibility. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
With the discovery of new oil fields at a crawl and alternative energy sources not up to snuff, we're facing some big changes. So argues Kunstler, who writes regularly on economic and environmental issues. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Move over, Malthus. According to suburbia-hater Kunstler (Home from Nowhere, 1996, etc.), the world's going to hell in a handbasket-and in about 15 minutes, too. Aiming at the broadest side of the barn, Kunstler asserts that we're living in "a much darker time than 1938, the eve of World War Two." Why so? Well, for one, because the world's population is vastly overextended-never mind that Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich hashed that argument out a generation ago, with Malthusian arguments taking a beating in the bargain. All right, because there's a superplague about to descend on the world, or maybe AIDS in mutated form, or a designer virus unleashed to rid a given polity of its surplus population, the elites having been inoculated beforehand. ("If this sounds too fantastic," Kunstler helpfully adds, "imagine how outlandish the liquidation of European Jewry might have seemed to civilized Berliners in 1913. Yet it happened." No bites? All right, it's because we're about to run out of oil, and there's nothing to replace oil. Now we're getting somewhere-except, oil economists such as Kenneth Deffeyes (Beyond Oil, p. 31) have remarked, the peak in world oil production is probably happening right now, and it will take some time to bleed the pump dry, by which point alternative technologies may have been employed to carry at least some of the load. That presupposes a shared view that the oil-based economy is on the way to profound change and that we're all in big trouble; but we're a delusional bunch, Kunstler avows, content to ugly up and pollute our world so long as we are able "to quickly escape the vicinity in cars luxuriously appointed with the finest digital stereo sound, air-conditioning,and cup holders for iced beverages." Aha. It's the fault of the ice-chewers in this age of global warming. But look at the bright side, Kunstler urges: At least when the air conditioners fail, the mega-churches will have to close down, a death blow to Republican civilization. Cant-filled and overwrought: a crying-wolf approach to real but largely addressable issues, long on jeremiads but absent of remedies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802142498
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/02/2006
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
425,430
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

James Howard Kunstler is the author of eight novels. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and an editor for Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He lives in upstate New York.

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