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The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies

104 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0613920896
ISBN-10: 0613920899
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.

In The Party's Over, Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the 20th century, and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the 21st century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion, and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the U.S.-the world's foremost oil consumer-is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a .managed collapse. that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.

More readable than other accounts of this issue, with fuller discussion of the context, social implications, and recommendations for personal, community, national, and global action, Heinberg's updated book is a riveting wake-up call for humankind as the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and influencing current U.S. foreign policy.

Listen to an interview with Richard Heinberg from WRPI.

(2004-11-30) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Richard Heinberg is widely acknowledged as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. A journalist, educator, editor, lecturer, and a Core Faculty member of New College of California where he teaches a program on "Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community, he is the author of six previous books including The Party's Over and Powerdown.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • School & Library Binding: 275 pages
  • Publisher: San Val (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613920899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613920896
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,128,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Heinberg is the author of eleven books including:

Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future (2013)
The End of Growth: Adapting to our New Economic Reality (2011)
Blackout: Coal, Climate, and the Last Energy Crisis (2009)
Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (2007)
The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse (2006)
Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (2004)
The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (2003)

He is Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. He has authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as Nature, The Ecologist, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review, Z Magazine, Resurgence, The Futurist, European Business Review, Earth Island Journal, Yes!, Pacific Ecologist, and The Sun; and on web sites such as Alternet.org, EnergyBulletin.net, TheOilDrum.com, ProjectCensored.com, and Counterpunch.com.

He has appeared in many film and television documentaries, including Leonardo DiCaprio's 11th Hour, and is a recipient of the M. King Hubbert Award for Excellence in Energy Education.

More information about Richard can be found on his website: richardheinberg.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

385 of 406 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bennett on March 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Proponents of the "Peak Oil" theory argue that global oil production will "peak" (meaning that one half of all known reserves will have been recovered) at some point between 2000 and 2010, and afterwards production will irrevocably decline, never to rise again. However, the demand for oil will continue to rise and the spread between falling supply and rising demand will rapidly grow, as no adequate alternative energy source will be available to cover the shortfall. Doomsday will then be at hand. The price of petroleum, and petroleum-related products (i.e., just about everything) will skyrocket; transportation, communications, agriculture, indeed, every major industry in the world, will sputter to a standstill; the world economy will stagger and collapse; civil authority will dissolve; and the noisy, messy experiment that was industrial civilization will expire in a world-wide bloodbath, or "die-off," that will reduce the human population by 90 percent, or more, and will leave the planet devastated, ruined, and, quite possibly, dead.
It would be easy to dismiss this apocalyptic vision as alarmist nonsense if only the "Peak Oil" proponents weren't so bloody convincing. By and large, they are a sensible, reasonable-sounding group of Cassandras, who dispense their grim forecasts as soberly as the subject allows. Virtually all of them rely upon the pioneering work M. King Hubbert, a research geophysicist who, in the mid-1950s, created a model to estimate the productive life of energy reserves. In 1956 Hubbert used his model to predict that oil production in the continental United States would peak sometime between 1966 and 1972. U.S.
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137 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Spoering on July 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This volume begins with a discussion of what energy is and how it has been used to develop our industrial way of life. Brief histories of wood, coal, and oil use are also included. Much of this book centers around the amounts of oil, coal, and natural gas remaining to be harnessed in the future, with several experts giving their predictions for the peak production of the world production of oil, not far away by most accounts. The United States had it's oil production peak in 1970 (predicted in 1956 by M. King Hubbert) and has been in decline since, with a slight temporary increase in the 1980's due to Alaskan oil.
As Richard Heinberg emphasizes continually in this book, the decline in world oil production seems imminent, along with the ensuing decline in national industrial economies which rely on oil, the United States being by far the biggest example. Per capita energy use by Americans is five times the world average, Heinberg writes, and he makes it abundantly clear that this waste and extravagance cannot continue much longer, and no number of Iraqi type excursions will make a difference. Heinberg writes that this decline of energy availability and use can be achieved peacefully with individual countries cooperating with each other, or violently with nations squabbling over the remaining oil. However, one thing stands out very clearly now, back in the 1970's during the initial problems with energy shortages due to the Arab oil embargo, it should have been a wake-up call to our leaders to develop sustainable energy sources then, it was not done, our short-sighted leaders failed us.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Stan Moore on April 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Richard Heinberg has done a tremendous service for all of us in America and the industrial world. Most Americans have known for years of risks associated with dependence on "foreign oil", but few Americans know that the critical point in human use of oil as an energy source is upon us. Few Americans ever heard of Hubbert's Peak in terms of American oil production, much less world oil production. Thus, industry and government have been able to use aspects of the truth (there is still one trillion barrels of recoverable oil underground) to obfuscate a critical fact -- the end of the entire age of oil as a primary fuel for human industry is within sight.
This fact has enormous (world altering) ramifications, as Heinberg demonstrates in his well-researched book. Foreign policy, domestic policy, ecology, wildlife conservation, and the entire American "way of life" are at issue. The information offered in this book is certainly known by government officials and undoubtedly has a direct influence, a primary influence, on the War on Terrorism, the War on Iraq, the U.S. Stock Market, and, increasingly on public debate in the U.S.
The fact that the U.S. Government, under administrations of either party, have not provided knowledge of the issues discussed in this book speaks poorly of the future of American democracy, and the absolute, dire need for American to educate themselves by reading this book and others like it.
To his credit, Heinberg explores opposing and alternate views of the data that support his conclusions. Rather than deny or ignore the alternate views, Heinberg explains them and persuades the reader by virtue of superior argumentation. This adds to his credibility, while diminishing the credibility of the doubters of his arguments.
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