James Howard Kunstler’s critically acclaimed and best-selling The Long Emergency, originally published in 2005, quickly became a grassroots hit, going into nine printings in hardcover. Kunstler’s shocking vision of our post-oil future caught the attention of environmentalists and business leaders alike, and stimulated widespread discussion about our dependence on fossil fuels and our dysfunctional financial and government institutions. Kunstler has since been profiled in The New Yorker and invited to speak at TED. In Too Much Magic, Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years and shows us that, in a post-financial-crisis world, his ideas are more relevant than ever.
“Too Much Magic” is what Kunstler sees in the bright visions of a future world dreamed up by optimistic souls who believe technology will solve all our problems. Their visions remind him of the flying cars and robot maids that were the dominant images of the future in the 1950s. Kunstler’s image of the future is much more sober. With vision, clarity of thought, and a pragmatic worldview, Kunstler argues that the time for magical thinking and hoping for miracles is over, and the time to begin preparing for the long emergency has begun.
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About the Author
James Howard Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He is the author of eleven 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.
Table of Contents
1 Where We're At 1
2 Farewell to the Drive-in Utopia 23
3 Cities of the Future: Yesterday's Tomorrow or Tomorrow's Yesterday? 43
4 The Dangers of Techno Narcissism, or: Frankenstein Release 2.0, How Ray Kurzweil's Singularity Aims to Replace the Old God with a New and Improved Version 65
5 The Futility of Party Politics in the Long Emergency 85
6 Going Broke the Hard Way: The End of Wall Street 111
7 The Energy Specter: Oil and Gas, Alternative Energy, and Waiting for Santa Claus 155
8 Insults to the Planet and the Planet's Reply 197
9 Social Relations and the Dilemmas of Difference 216
Coda: A Systematic Misunderstanding of Reality 241
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I found this book riveting. Sardonic, at limes deeply funny in spite of the subject matter, it struck a chord with me. I have well-educated friends who believe that airplane contrails are really deadly chemtrails; last week I had a conversation with a very smart, well-educated woman who seemed to have her feet on the ground until in a discussion of global warming, said, "My god would never let global warming happen." Talk about wishful thinking! Many people will dismiss this book as the pessimism of a crank. I thought it was hard to refute most of his conclusions. It's hard to avoid thinking that what he's describing is another bubble -- maybe more long-lasting than the housing bubble, the tulip bubble (the Dutch some centuries ago), the South Seas bubble, and every other ponzi scheme the gullible humans have fallen for. -- but a bubble doomed to burst sooner or later. I recently spent time in Turkey and was struck by the realization that this land area has lived through the rise and fall of at least 5 empires. Other ciultures have an innate understanding of the rise -- and fall -- of empires. We in America can only think about the rise. Any talk of the fall, which will happen at some point, creates something close to hysteria. This book was a good corrective to that sort of thinking.
Worth reading if you enjoy an eloquent curmudgeon. More opinion than research, unlike TLE, but it also puts together a coherent argument.