134 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2006
OK, I'm a lifelong Republican. And for the longest time I resisted the 'global warming' stuff as "hogwash" as Rush says. But for the first time, the actual facts in this book changed my mind. I'm somewhat embarrassed by the overwhelming evidence submitted by Gore, but hey, when you're right, you're right. Congratulations, you've got to hand it to someone who sticks with an issue until the truth comes out.
106 of 134 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2006
If you read the customer reviews of this book closely, you'll notice two things:
1. The majority of the one and two star reviews are written by people who apparently haven't read the book or seen the movie and are just using this space to promote their own, or somebody else's, book.
2. These same people, many of whom describe An Inconvenient Truth as "political propaganda," are also overwhelmingly promoting a right wing political agenda that has NOTHING to do with mainsteam science.
As both the book and the movie point out in careful detail, over 900 peer-reviewed, independent, international scientific studies have all reached the same conclusion: Global warming is real, it is being exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels, and it constitutes a clear and present danger to human health and safety and the global economy.
It's time for America to stop shirking its responsibility as the dominant superpower in the face of a global climate crisis. We need more leaders like the former vice president with the guts to challenge American business and technology to come up with job-creating innovations that will help reduce CO2 emissions so our children can inherit a planet that is as habitable as the one we were born to.
Let's show the world America hasn't lost its can-do spirit!
64 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am a layman who loves to read books about science. To me politics has no business mucking around in science. I simply want to know what research is being done in a field, and what the general scientific consensus is about a given topic.
Al Gore's book is an excellent starting point for those who want to learn some of the basics of global warming, but are reluctant to leap into a more academic book on the subject. Although I have read several books on this topic I was interested to see what Al Gore had to say about it. When I got my copy my first reaction was "Oh no, this is just a simple minded picture book." I was mistaken. Pictures are worth a thousand words. We are presented with photos of glaciers taken now, and in the past. The change is startling. Or the satellite photos of Lake Chad, which used to be the size of Lake Erie, but has almost totally dried up in just 40 years.. He tells us about those cute penguins we saw in the movie "March of the Penguins": 70% of them are now gone. They can't find enough hard ice to raise their offspring. The statistics he presents in many graphs are quite frightening. Sample: in the 1950s there were about 10 floods in the U.S.; In the 1990s there were close to 200.
Some readers who want to learn about global warming, but who are not fans of Mr. Gore might tire of the several biographical segments added to the book. Whatever your feelings are about him, you have to admire the amount of traveling he did to seek out answers. He's gone through all the continents - traveled up the Amazon, been to both Antarctica and the North Pole (both on top of it, and under it in a submarine).
Mind you, this book will not take you a long distance into the topic. It is an introduction, and if the material presented intrigues you, then you should take the next step and read some more books on the subject such as:
The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart (a history of global warming research)
Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert (easy reading)
Red Sky At Morning by James Speth (how do we address the problem)
Is The Temperature Rising, by George Philander (a little more technical)
The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery (easy reading)
Climate Change by William Burroughs (quite technical)
The Ice Chronicles by Paul Mayewski (about the ice cores that tell us about past climate)
High Tide by Mark Lynas (how global warming is already affecting people)
The Long Summer by Brian Fagan (climate change through the history of civilization)
Atmosphere, Climate and Change by Thomas Graedel (somewhat technical but accessible)
41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2006
I have seen An Inconvenient Truth, the movie; and, I have browsed An Inconvenient Truth, the book, at a local bookstore. I enjoyed the movie, and I chose not to buy the book. This review was mainly written for people who have seen the movie, and are thinking of picking up the book.
It's unfortunate that there are no preview pages currently available on Amazon. The book is not printed like a typical non-fiction work of black-and-white text and charts. Instead, 90% of the pages are full-page, full-color photographs, maps, charts or graphs, with a few sentences or short paragraphs on each image describing the situation. While there are 328 pages, it can probably be read by most people in the time it takes to watch the movie.
Most of the photos and graphics are exact copies of the ones shown in the film. In most cases where animations were shown in the film, a series of similar graphics are in the book.
I would say An Inconvenient Truth makes a very good "coffee table" book -- easy to pick up, flip through quickly, look at some interesting graph, and share and discuss among friends.
The book's goal, in my opinion, is to say, "global warming is a large, real problem needing urgent attention, and we can solve it," and it does a good job at that. It is beyond the scope of the book to discuss solutions in any detail, and it leaves you with a few leads to help solve global warming (in the back of the book), but specifics are left mainly as an exercise for the reader. Gore argues that (lack of) political will is the biggest obstacle to solving the issue, and he encourages readers to contact their political leaders to change that.
Like the film, there are mini-biographies of Al Gore laced throughout the book -- about five; each touches on a turning point in Gore's life -- usually a loss or near loss -- that guided him down the path that lead him to making this book. I could have done without these, as I feel they distract from the other content of the book, but they are easy to skip. (I do see the value in including them, however, and you will find them interesting if you want to know more about the author's personal life.) They are in a different style from the rest of the book; they read a bit like a magazine, with quarter- or half-page-sized (usually black and white) photos accompanying them.
In conclusion, the book is essentially the same as the film, but in a handy, take-it-with-you "book" form. The book adds a few more photographs, and a useful "Top 10 Arguments Against 'Global Warming is Real'" (something like that) at the end, but not much else. I enjoyed the delivery of the film more, as I felt the impact of Gore's speeches (where timing was sometimes very important) and the colloquial style of the film did not translate as well as they could have on to the page.
Recommended if you can't see the film, if you don't want to sit through the "Al Gore" parts of the film, or if you loved the film and want a hardcopy to show your friends some of your favorite charts. Not recommended if you're looking for more in-depth coverage of the material.
36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2006
I had read 'Earth in the Balance' out of duty as a good Democrat, but largely came away with the sense that I had not understood everything despite a personal background as the daughter of a geologist who honestly believes that humans must be environmentally responsible. I had presumed my initial reaction to that earlier book was partially because I was in high school, but also realized that author tone makes a big difference in reader enjoyment.
Then Tennessee's Senator, Gore sporadically came across as if he were trying to impress audiences as opposed to writing a book on a subject which he personally and passionately cares about. He certainly knew what he was talking about, but it did not seem like the language 'average' people would use to discuss the same issues in 'everyday' conversations.
Now apparently not having to 'prove' anything in any political race, the real Al Gore is free to shine through--and what a clarifying read he provides with these changes. His 'private citizen' freedom is what makes this text nicely and quickly illustrate its accompanying data.
Statistics weren't included in this book to overwhelm or intimidate the reader, they are actually provided for an accessible and ultimately enjoyable read by the broadest audiences possible.
This too makes the book a serious clarion call without tipping the balance into 'sky-is-falling' tactics which I associate with extremists. Realizing that environmental conditions are very serious, he also knows that how you sell both a scenario and potential solutions are essential to then implementing successful outcomes.
Hearing that our lifestyle is responsible for environmental destruction which is only likely to increase under unaltered consumption patterns is uncomfortable for many Americans (me included) but important.
Instead of being a 'things suck in America' diatribe', Gore's approach encourages citizens to think about the things which we can and should be doing to save this planet and ourselves. Environmentally responsible politics are not a 'far out special interest' but a practical action in step with other American events.
43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2006
This book should be required reading for everyone on the planet who can read. While obviously a topic that some disagree with, the bottom line is that we're doing way too much to harm the environment and to empower big business. Let's all try to change a few of the things we're doing to contribute to waste, pollution, etc. This should not be a political issue. However, I would have never picked up the book, read it, and become passionate about the subject had it NOT been written by this famous author. Please, folks, keep an open mind.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2007
Like many Americans who were disappointed when Al Gore's bid for president were unsuccessful, this loss didn't fall by the wayside. He is using his presence and power to bring awareness to a very important cause - global warming. I am relieved to know someone of Mr. Gore's stature, is out there is continuing to remind us of the "inconvenient truth", yes it is inconvenient and better to deny the real scary truth, yes it is inconvenient to get a car with better emission output, yes it is inconvenient to tell the cashier "no need to bag that juice" so that bag doesn't become another piece of garbage that contributes to the greenhouse gases. Can't we designate one day, where we can use our own book bags, tote bags instead of the paper or plastic bags at the grocers? This can make such a difference if each of us can pinch in somehow. How about designating a day, where we are encouraged to walk or bike or take mass transit to work? It may not be possible for some, so how about rearranging your schedule and carpool? Yes it is inconvenient for most of us Americans to take our part. Gore breaks it down for all of us non-meteorologist with the use of maps, full-color photos, lab data, graphs etc....so us laments can understand the severe crisis our planet is in. Remember the chaos in New Orleans? It can happen again to the next coastal city, so New York City, Atlantic City, Miami, Washington D.C. Myrtle Beach, Savannah, Charleston, Jacksonville, Boston, Portland-Maine, don't say Gore didn't tell you so. I'd admit this book instills fear as the facts were quite disturbing. I am saddened to think that in 50 years my children will not enjoy our earth's luster and beauty, instead they might be dodging looters, bizarre weather catastrophes, soaring hot temperatures and eventual doom. I came away from this book wanting to know more. I can relate to Gore as he is like many of us, non-scientists. I describe him as a messenger, and he acknowledges those dozens of scientists that helped him understand this crisis. There are skeptics to Gore's facts, it is important that we evaluate our human behaviors. Our beautiful planet earth doesn't have the resources to accommodate our abuse. This is a MUST read if anyone cares for our children. Every classroom or at least every school should buy this book.
39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2006
However you feel about Al Gore, you have to credit him for truly showing his love for our one and only lovely, God-given planet earth.
And tempering that love with a clear, easy to understand and accurate survey of all the clear reasons that the planet is getting hotter, and even more, inspiring us with hope that we can still do something about it if we act now.
I wish this book was in the hands of every politician and every school teacher, and indeed everyone who runs a big oil company or auto company and wants to help our country and the world to change direction.
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2006
Mr. Gore presents the critical issue of global warming in a compelling and easily understood form. I am not a scientist, but I had been trying to educate myself on this topic. It probably took me 900 pages of tough reading to gain the knowledge that Mr. Gore presents in a very accesible form. The book is loaded with images and easily intepreted charts that, together with Mr. Gore's deeply personal narration, hold the reader's attention. Reading 'An Inconvenient Truth' is a great way to develop an understanding of the great issue of our time. Our actions in response to global warming will determine not only the quality of our children's lives, but whether they will have lives, full lives, at all. Mr. Gore possesses that rarest of things - a Jeffersonian sense of civic duty. In this we are truly fortunate because that sense of civic duty has given the Republic a great teacher.
38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book is a quick read and gets the over all view of what climate change is and what it is doing to the planet. I find those who are trashing this book with politcal comments show how pathetic their view of the world is. Some of those "reviews" quote "scientists" whose main source of funding is Exxon Mobil (Carter in Australia, McKitick in Canada etc) I guess those who tried to sell us that cigarettes as healthy had to find work after the truth won out over the tobacco companies lobbying efforts. But to put every one on the planet at risk for 40 pieces of silver is beyond greed and self interest. The scientists who are not paid by oil companies are saying the people of the planet needs to act now. Understand that the problem is getting worse and the longer action is delayed the worse the problems will be. Please read the book or see the movie and make up your own mind.