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The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century Paperback – March 2, 2006
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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More About the Author
James Howard Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He attended New York's High School of Music and art and SUNY Brockport (BA, Theater, 1971). He was a reporter for the Boston Phoenix, the Albany Knickerbocker News, and later an editor with Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975 he dropped out of corporate journalism to write books, and settled in Saratoga Spring, New York, where he has lived ever since.
Kunstler's popular blog, Clusterf**k Nation, is published every Monday morning at www.kunstler.com and his weekly podcast, The KunstlerCast, is refreshed every Thursday.
Kunstler is also a serious professional painter. His work may be seen at www.kunstler.com
Top Customer Reviews
Having said that, I consider the book itself, despite its run-on Op-Ed character, to be a tour de force that is very logically put forward. Indeed, although I have seen allusions elsewhere, this is the first place that I have seen such a thorough denunciation of how cheap oil underlies everything else including suburbia and Wal-Mart cf. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. I am also quite impressed by the author's logical discourse on how communities have sacrificed their future coherence and sustainability for the sake of a few dollars savings on Wal-Mart products.
There is a great deal in the book that is covered more ably and in more detail by the other 600+ books I have reviewed at Amazon, and indeed, replicates much of what I write about in ...Read more ›
(1) We have a "one-time endowment of concentrated, stored solar energy"--i.e., oil.
(2) At this point in history, give or take a few years, most of that stored solar energy will be gone. ("Peak oil" is upon us.)
(3) The unprecedented growth of our society is predicated upon cheap energy and needs a continued supply of it to maintain itself.
(4) That growth consists largely of a gigantic highway and road superstructure with massive suburban developments in places that cannot sustain their populations without cheap oil ("nobody walks in L.A.")
(5) This land use structure is particularly and exclusively designed for the machines of cheap oil, cars, 18-wheelers, SUVs, etc., which will become too expensive to run as the oil patch rapidly depletes.
(6) There is no substitute for oil--not coal, not nuclear power, not solar cells, not wind power, not hydroelectric power, not hydrogen fuel cells, not cold fusion, not corn oil--nothing will be adequate. The idea that human ingenuity will come up some sort of alternative fuel at the price we are paying today is just a pipe dream.
(7) Our government has its head in the sand.
Kunstler augments his argument with these major points:
One, regardless of what energy source we might dream will replace oil, we will have to build the structures--nuclear plants, hydrogen fuel "stations," solar panels the size of New Mexico in the aggregate, massive forests of wind mills, etc.--from an oil platform, at least to begin with. Note that we now use energy from oil to mine coal and to build wind propellers. We use energy from oil to build nuclear reactors.Read more ›
Read this book.
The back cover is the scary image of a horse pulling a ruined car. The same image is the cover of Stirling's Dies the Fire, and I find it frankly impossible to believe that this is a coincidence. In any case, Kunstler seems to be fairly well known as a social commentator who hates suburbia and advocates a return to close-packed urban communities, a "Smart Growth" booster, in other words.
He begins with a reinterpretation of the twentieth century in terms of fossil fuel use, especially World War Two. As Murray and Millett agree in A War to be Won, I have added this idea to my lecture on WWII, which I recently delivered twice to summer students. He sees the 1973 embargo as the warning, which the US ignored (all except me; my whole life has been a bracing against the end of oil). Hubbert's Curve, which I'd heard of while I was still in Northern California, is a central issue in this book, with the peak predicted very soon, if it hasn't come already.
The Mainstream Media are talking more and more about the end of cheap oil, but no one is talking as starkly and unpleasantly as Kunstler. He then goes on to explain why several popular forms of "alternative" energy won't work. I wasn't sure that I believed all of what he said. I am not an engineer, but windmills (to generate electricity and pump enough water for stock) can be made without oil. Plastics can be made from fermented vegetable sludge; I ran a game once based on such a world.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book originally in 2010, and it opened my eyes to what was going on in the world. Since it was written in 2005, you'll need other resources to fill you in on what's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jimmy Verona
Well written and very confronting. The end of our Oil economy is so overwhelming and bound to be unpleasantPublished 2 months ago by whoisbiggles
Tells why the "Long" Emergency is not long any longer - ACT NOW!Published 2 months ago by William D. Christ
This is a very important book for anyone interested in understanding the strong possibility of a slow, lingering decline of civilization. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Filceraw
Everyone should read this book to prepare for the years to come without oil, globalization and a very different society.Published 5 months ago by Lizzy W.
This book will make you think about how wasteful we are with the resources of our planet and how we should NOW start working toward other alternatives for energy. Read morePublished 5 months ago by romancegirl1963
A little too much history of the oil industry. I love Kunstler's other books, but I had to finally skip to the end to get James's typically wonderful writings.Published 7 months ago by Paula Tuttle