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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate Hardcover – September 16, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 752 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.” (Rob Nixon The New York Times Book Review)

“This may be the first truly honest book ever written about climate change.” (Bryan Walsh Time)

"This is the best book about climate change in a very long time—in large part because it's about much more. It sets the most important crisis in human history in the context of our other ongoing traumas, reminding us just how much the powers-that-be depend on the power of coal, gas and oil. And that in turn should give us hope, because it means the fight for a just world is the same as the fight for a livable one." (Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and co-founder of 350.org)

This Changes Everything is the work book for . . . [a] new, more assertive, more powerful environmental movement.” (Mark Bittman)

"Naomi Klein applies her fine, fierce, and meticulous mind to the greatest, most urgent questions of our times. . . . I count her among the most inspirational political thinkers in the world today." (Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things and Capitalism: A Ghost Story)

“Naomi Klein is a genius. She has done for politics what Jared Diamond did for the study of human history. She skillfully blends politics, economics and history and distills out simple and powerful truths with universal applicability.” (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.)

“[A]robust new polemic. . . . Drawing on an impressive volume of research, Ms. Klein savages the idea that we will be saved by new technologies or by an incremental shift away from fossil fuels: Both approaches, she argues, are forms of denial. . . . Ms. Klein is aware of the intractability of the problems she describes, but she manages optimism nonetheless.” (Nathaniel Rich The New York Times)

"Klein is a brave and passionate writer who always deserves to be heard, and this is a powerful and urgent book." (John Gray The Observer (UK))

“If global warming is a worldwide wake-up call, we’re all pretty heavy sleepers. . . . We haven't made significant progress, Klein argues, because we've been expecting solutions from the very same institutions that created the problem in the first place. . . . Klein's sharp analysis makes a compelling case that a mass awakening is part of the answer.” (Chris Bentley The Chicago Tribune)

“Gripping and dramatic. . . . [Klein] writes of a decisive battle for the fate of the earth in which we either take back control of the planet from the capitalists who are destroying it or watch it all burn.” (Roy Scranton Rolling Stone)

“Naomi Klein’s latest book may be the manifesto that the climate movement — and the planet — needs right now. . . . For those with whom her message does resonate — and they are likely to be legion — her book could help catalyze the kind of mass movement she argues the world needs now.” (Mason Inman San Francisco Chronicle)

“Powerfully and uncompromisingly written, the impassioned polemic we have come to expect from Klein, mixing first-hand accounts of events around the world and withering political analysis. . . . Her stirring vision is nothing less than a political, economic, social, cultural and moral make-over of the human world.” (Mike Hulme New Scientist)

“A powerful, profound, and compelling book.” (Matthew Rothschild The Progressive)

“Klein is one of the left’s most influential figures and a prominent climate champion. . . . [She] is a gifted writer and there is little doubt about the problem she identifies.” (Pilita Clark The Financial Times)

“Whatever side you take, Klein deserves credit for not sugarcoating the problem. She writes that limiting global warming won't be quick, easy or without disruptions, yet holds out hope that the end result will be better for people, the environment and even the economy. . . . This Changes Everything may motivate more people to think and act on climate change, and that’s good.” (Associated Press)

“Journalist Klein is a resolute investigator into the dark side of unchecked capitalism. . . . This comprehensive, sure-to-be controversial inquiry, one of the most thorough, eloquent, and enlightening books yet on this urgent and overwhelming subject—alongside works by Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Diane Ackerman—provides the evidence and the reasoning we need to help us shift to a ‘worldview based on regeneration and renewal rather than domination and depletion.’” (Booklist (starred review))

"[Klein's] journalism won't slow down the fossil fuel companies, but it surely holds out hope for activists looking to avert a disaster. . . . A sharp analysis that is bound to be widely discussed." (Kirkus Reviews)

"The book has an uplifting message: that humans have changed before, and can change again. It poses a gutsy challenge to those who are vaguely hoping that the whole issue will go away, or that some new technology will save us." (Camilla Cavendish The Sunday Times (UK))

"An intellectual hero of many in the alter-globalization protests as well as the Occupy movement. . . . Klein is ready for battle and is not afraid to own her politics.” (Adam Morris Los Angeles Review of Books)

About the Author

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her first book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was also an international bestseller. Klein is a contributing editor for Harper’s and reporter for Rolling Stone and writes a syndicated column for The Nation and the Guardian. She lives in Toronto.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451697384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451697384
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (752 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, I agree with many of the 5 and 4 star comments--this is an inspiring book. Klein has helped her readers better understand the germination of a broad based, multi-dimensional climate movement from the ground up and its potential to galvanize and revitalize the Left. Also, she hasn't shied away from calling out the source of the problem--capitalism--when so many liberals shrink from mentioning the "c" word. In addition, her focus on the fossil fuel industry as the strategic target of the movement clearly highlights the importance of isolating one of the most malignant sectors of industrial capitalism.

But despite her insightful and inspirational treatment of the climate movement's potential to change everything, I believe Klein over-states her case and overlooks crucial features of the dangerously dysfunctional system we're up against. By putting climate change on a pedestal, she limits our understanding of how to break capitalism's death grip over our lives and our future.

For instance, Klein ignores the deep connection between climate chaos, militarism, and war. While she spends an entire chapter explaining why Virgin Airlines owner, Richard Branson, and other Green billionaires won't save us, she devotes three meager sentences to the most violent, wasteful, petroleum-burning institution on Earth--the US military. Klein shares this blind spot with the United Nations' official climate forum. The UNFCCC excludes most of the military sector's fuel consumption and emissions from national greenhouse gas inventories. This exemption was the product of intense lobbying by the United States during the Kyoto negotiations in the mid-1990s. Ever since, the military establishment's carbon "bootprint" has been officially ignored.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Changes Everything belongs to the noble tradition of investigative, crusading journalism championed by the likes of Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Rachel Carson and John Pilger. It is a meticulously researched and passionately argued exposé and a call to arms.

Klein spells out in detail the work of the cabal of corporately-funded propaganda houses such as the Heartland and Cato Institutes, and the Heritage Foundation in undermining climate science and subverting what was once a bi-partisan approach to dealing Climate Change. She gives an extended account of the methods and agendas of these groups and provides good insight into their motivations and the reasons for their success in altering public opinion on Climate Change in the last ten years.

The strength of this crusading journalism approach is its passion and sense of outrage, the weakness is that it portrays the world as a simplified battle between good guys and bad guys. The bad guys in the this story are the greedy fossil fuel corporations, the extractive coal and oil companies, the white, middle class, right-wing men who are thoroughly invested in the system as it stands. The good guys are the poor and dispossessed of the Earth, the Indigenous Peoples fighting for their rights, the local communities who want to do the right thing if only the political and business elites would allow them to live in harmony with the Earth.

The problem with this world view is that while it may be emotionally plausible is it too simplistic. As I can personally attest from my six years working for Shell Wind there are plenty of caring, environmentally committed people working for oil companies, and there are plenty of selfish and greedy people among the supposed "good guys".
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Format: Hardcover
Naomi Klein's call for the abolition of capitalism sounds like lunacy until you consider the alternative: a climate crash so severe that it wipes out civilization. "Oh well," you say, "it can't be that bad." Actually it's worse: capitalism has to go within two decades, three at most. "Impossible," you say, and probably, you're right. But it's the reason you should read Klein's book. Everybody should read it, to learn about the hideous predicament that we are in.

Happily, though, we have two bright spots. First, you don't need to read Klein to get the doomsday science. The United Nations has already published the science. It's comprehensive, the product of the best climate specialists in the world, and it boils down to this: unless we drastically scale back carbon emissions, the planet will warm four to seven degrees centigrade by 2100. Humans and most other species have never lived in a world that hot. Civilization cannot survive in a world that hot, and again, this isn't Klein talking, it's the U.N. That's "bright spot" #1: the fact that you don't have to take Klein's word on the doomsday business.

Bright spot #2: there's a solution! It's Klein's big contribution to the climate debate, her case that the reduction of carbon emissions to safe levels requires a new economic system--and in a hurry. What a relief, huh, that there's actually a way to save civilization? Okay, that's not funny. But it's the reality. And you can't find a better guide to it than Klein's book.

Consider it in personal terms. We have a choice. Humanity can continue on the present course, which will fatally heat the world within the lifetimes of people now living. Or humanity can change course, and save the world for future generations. We either commit suicide--or we don't.
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