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The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources Hardcover – March 13, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Pulls no punches in describing what's dead ahead... Whether you're a hard-line climate-denying billionaire capitalist or a liberal-leaning environmentalist, you need to read Michael Klare's new Race For What's Left.” ―MarketWatch

“A first-rate, well-researched wake-up call... Klare has identified the problem in vivid detail.” ―The Christian Science Monitor

“An outstanding book―exhaustively researched, beautifully written, and convincingly argued.” ―History News Network

“In a sane world, we'd take the limits we are clearly reaching as a signal to reduce our fixation on growth and begin searching for new ways to live. Instead, as Michael Klare makes clear in this powerful book, the heads of our corporate empires have decided to rip apart the planet in one last burst of profiteering. If you want to understand the next decade, I fear you better read this book.” ―Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

“If you think oil is the only major thing we're running short of, think again. Michael Klare has long been farsighted about the many hazards of a resource-hungry world, and this crisp, authoritative survey does more than just show what the other dangers are. It also feels like a guidebook to wars to come.” ―Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

“Michael Klare has written a gripping account of the world's great resource grab and its terrifying implications for the planet. Fortunately, he doesn't stop there but offers the world a way out through a ‘race to adapt.' A must read for anyone who wants to understand not only the challenge of our diminishing resources but also what we can do about it.” ―Elizabeth C. Economy, author of The River Runs Black

“Michael Klare is like a beacon shining into the dark and scary wilderness that our future has become. This is an indispensable book for anyone who wants to understand what reality requires of us in the years ahead.” ―James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency

“If Michael Klare cared more about his wallet than about humanity's welfare, he could have spent his career earning gazillions as a global trends adviser for Wall Street. Luckily for the rest of us, he chose people over profit. Now, for the mere price of a book, we all can benefit from Klare's razor-sharp analysis of where the world is heading--and how we can still change course.” ―Mark Hertsgaard, author of Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth

“Michael Klare has done it again. In clear and compelling prose, The Race for What's Left shows how resource depletion is accelerating even more rapidly than originally suspected and how competition for scarce resources has intensified. The potential for conflict and environmental catastrophe is frightening. This book is vital for understanding the crossroads we face: either develop green technologies now or fight another round of devastating resource wars. Our future depends upon the choices we make right now.” ―Terry Lynn Karl, author of The Paradox of Plenty

About the Author

Michael T. Klare is the author of fourteen books, including Resource Wars and Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet. A contributor to Current History, Foreign Affairs, and the Los Angeles Times, he is the defense correspondent for The Nation and the director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1St Edition edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805091262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805091267
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The information conveyed in Michael T. Klare's latest book is important, even critical to our common future. We're between a hard place and a rock, and the rock doesn't contain enough useful minerals or topsoil to save our bacon. Klare's work can be viewed as a useful resource for policy makers and industrialists who might want an overview of the problems we face.

That said, the book feels padded out, like a great idea for a longish think-piece in a serious magazine that was bulked up to make a book. Weary of the repetition, I began to skim the last half, reading intros and conclusions to chapters rather than spending my time wading through the jetsam.

I get it already. There are too many people on board this little planet, and all of them want to live like Americans. It won't work, long term. Famine is extremely likely. War is probable. The next half century is going to be difficult at best, tear-inducing in many ways, and utterly miserable for the poorest billion or so.

As Aimee Mann sang it (in a different context) "That's how I knew this story would break my heart."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well worth your time and money. Michael Klare clearly describes hhow the earth's ever decreasing non-renewable resources , combined with the ever increasing demand for them, will contribute to an expensive and frantic "Race for What's Left." He exapnds on three components of this race; energy,minerals,and agriculture (the section concerning agriculture is especially absorbing). He then describes how this may eventually lead to armed conflicts, and will eventually lead to the switch to renewables.
The book is written in a rather easy to read textbook style, and very clealy depicts the necessary projections from our current dependance on non-renewable resources.
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Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to reading this book. When I got it, I found it very disappointing. There are two problems that I have with this book. The first is the style that it is written in, the second is the coverage and structure.

I found the style too anecdotal. I would have preferred something more academic. I felt as if I was wading through a lot of gumpf, before I got to any facts. The second issue here is that it focuses on narrow examples, rather than giving you an overview. I don't want to read a great detail about Gabon before I see Africa addressed as a continent for example. I find the style similar to CNN stlye reportage; high on emotive topics and narrow perspective, low on facts. It reads as if the author has an agenda and points to examples to prove his case. I would prefer a presentation of the facts rather than to be told what I should think. It feels as if I am reading propaganda despite the seriousness of the issues.

As for structure, I would have preferred to see the book start with some kind of historical perspective, talking about Limits of Growth etc, before then going on to explain the geopolitical context (such as Zbigniew Brzezinski's the Grand Chessboard). That is, the current economic situation in the US and Europe vs BRIC etc, the US objectives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and so on. We get none of this. All in all the coverage seems patchy, with too much time spent on some areas not enough on others. Flicking through the chapters I expected to see one entitled "Water Security", but nothing.

Instead of this, the book starts with the story of a Russian submarine captain planting a flag on the floor of the arctic. Flicking through the chapters reveals a similar anecdote at the start of each chapter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The prolific Michael Klare has produced another book -- "The Race for What's Left" -- addressing the dangers we will face in the coming years, dangers which express our strong dependence on the earth and its material abundance along with our inability to create global political institutions which secure peace and prosperity. It is worthy read as are Klare's previous books on this subject. In his latest, he addresses a few simple theses:

1. The demand for natural resources will continue to grow
2. The supply of these resources will continue to shrink
3. The search for new sources of hydrocarbons, common and uncommon minerals, water and arable land will intensify over time and likely will generate resources wars.

In a nutshell, we are now passing from an "easy-resource world" to a "hard-resource world." This claim encapsulates a few disturbing facts: Existing oil wells no longer produce at the rate they once had and once productive mines have become stingy. These key resources have peaked or will peak soon, and this fact will drive commerce in the future. More importantly, fallow and potentially productive farm land has become scarce in various locales due to overuse, desertification, urbanization and other destructive forms of consumption. We can expect food shortages to intensify as time passes. Furthermore, increasing demand will augment this `natural' scarcity. Brazil, Russia, India and China are industrializing (or reindustrializing in Russia's case). Other countries have also taken off. Many are trying to develop their productive capacity and their natural resources. The industries in many of these countries are now competitive in the global market and will consume a growing share of the planet's raw goods.
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