Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture

Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture

by Thom Hartmann
     
 

An urgent look at our world's looming crises and what we must do to avert them

In Threshold, writer and Air America host Thom Hartmann looks at the deteriorating state of our planet, where the dynamics of environmental, economic, and population change are boiling over the limits within which society can function. In clear and impassioned prose,

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Overview

An urgent look at our world's looming crises and what we must do to avert them

In Threshold, writer and Air America host Thom Hartmann looks at the deteriorating state of our planet, where the dynamics of environmental, economic, and population change are boiling over the limits within which society can function. In clear and impassioned prose, Hartmann busts the myths and ideologies of religious fundamentalism, capitalism run amok, male domination, and militarism that are draining our world of its natural and human resources and engendering the suffering of millions for the benefit of the few.

No mere jeremiad, Threshold examines cultures that have thrived, from the mother city of Caral, Peru, to modern Denmark, and targets five areas of policy-national, religious, economic, corporate, and environmental-for specific and immediate reform. Radical in its scope and boldness but simple in its commonsense logic, Threshold illustrates the mistakes we have made-as a culture, as a country, and as individuals-and provides the inspiration and motivation readers are looking for to build a better, more sustainable world for all. Part prophecy, part call to arms, part policy prescription, Threshold is, for readers of Jared Diamond, Thomas Friedman, and Paul Hawken, the wake-up call our society so badly needs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

What begins as skillful (and scary) prognostications about climate change's impact devolve into an unfocused mishmash in this mélange of history, philosophy, science and anthropology. Air America Radio Network host Hartmann (The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight) marshals solid research to demonstrate how overpopulation, pernicious trade policies, rampant consumerism and other excesses are devastating the Earth. The utopia he envisions, which owes much to Scandinavian social democracies, is unimpeachable, what with its emphasis on gender equality, ecological consciousness and a renewed spirit of democracy. Unfortunately, the author cannot direct his ire, and the book buckles under breathless plaints that leap from the history of lacrosse to neurology to our relationships with animals in the span of a few pages. The result is a frustrating, hard-to-follow conclusion that obscures the valuable arguments that distinguish the book's striking opening. (July)

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Kirkus Reviews
Radio talk-show host Hartmann (Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision, 2007, etc.) applies his gung-ho populism to the global ramifications of mankind's loss of balance with nature. The author begins with an awkward metaphor-that the world is "right now tottering atop three major thresholds." These include an overtaxed environment that cannot sustain human life; a "free market" economy, manipulated by "1 percent of us," that has "bled [the nation's] industrial base into the gutter of cheap labor countries"; and a population explosion. A big-picture thinker, Hartmann offers plenty of dire forecasts supported by swaths of impressive statistics, beginning with a bleak snapshot of the Darfur region of Sudan. Gripped by civil war and the greed that the discovery of oil has wrought, and barely breaking through the threshold from hunger to safety and protection, Darfur represents a microcosm of the larger issues that beset the world in terms of future survival. Man's self-removal from "the web of life" is the root cause of these respective crises, and Hartmann presents a series of remedies-reintroducing worms into the body for medicinal cleansing; rejecting the "sociopathic paychecks" of CEOs; embracing altruism over ownership; adopting the economic example of Denmark, where "higher taxes equals greater overall quality of life;" seeking agricultural answers through anthropological experiments among the Maori people of New Zealand and the ancient Peruvian civilization of Caral. Hartmann puts forth a wide-ranging collection of mostly engaging ideas, but his slogan-ridden, somewhat scattershot screed may not resonate with many readers beyondthe disgruntled, armchair-pounding TV-news watchers. A mishmash of good intentions. Agent: Bill Gladstone/Waterside Productions

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670020911
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/23/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
17 Years

What People are saying about this

John Perkins
"At last: a book that defines the problems of our current robber baron economy and presents solutions that integrate natural laws with the way we live, work, and shop. Thom Hartmann once again dazzles us with brilliant ideas and eloquent writing."--(John Perkins, New York Times Bestselling Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of the American Empire)
David Korten
"America's most popular progressive talk show host brings his powerful political and historical insight to bear on the most important question of our time: To what may we humans aspire in this time of crisis and how can we achieve it?"--(David Korten, board chair, YES! magazine, and author Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community)
Jim Hightower
"If you're looking for a book that offers BIG answers to the BIG questions � and that lays it all out in concise, clear, common-sense English � you have it in your hands! Hartmann both lays it out and lifts us up."--(Jim Hightower, Nationally syndicated columnist, radio commentator, best selling author and editor of the Hightower Lowdown)

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