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The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future Paperback – Illustrated, July 1, 2014
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Oreskes and Conway's startling and all-too-plausible history of the century to come is in the spirit of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley and all the writers who have turned to prophecy in the attempt to ward off an oncoming disaster. Witty in its details and disturbing in its plausibility, this is an account of the Long Emergency we're entering that you will not soon forget. -- Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Shaman, 2312, Science In the Capital, and the Mars trilogy
A chilling view of what our history could be. Ignore it and it becomes more likely. Read this book, heed its warning, and perhaps we can avoid its dire predictions. -- Timothy Wirth, vice chairman, United Nations Foundation, and former U.S. Senator and Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Regret, Oreskes and Conway argue, is an equal-opportunity employer. Yes, climate change will be a nightmare for environmentalists. But global warming also threatens free marketeers, because unabated, it guarantees big government intervention. And that's the great service of this short but brilliant parable: it creates bipartisan empathy for our future selves. From that gift, perhaps we can summon the will to act today. -- Auden Schendler, Vice President, Sustainability, Aspen Skiing Company
Provocative and grimly fascinating, The Collapse of Western Civilization offers a glimpse into a future that, with farsighted leadership, still might be avoided. It should be required reading for anyone who works―or hopes to―in Washington. -- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
The scenario portrayed in this valuable little book is scarily possible. It would be apt if readers took action to keep it from, you know, happening. -- Bill McKibben, founder 350.org
Packed with salient science, smart speculation and flashes of mordant humour. ― Nature
This science-historical fantasy is thought-provoking, but is it prescient? ― Scientific American
[A] must-read... What is science fiction today will someday be the history of real, live people ― billions of them. Kudos to Oreskes and Conway for finding a creative way to talk about the immoral choice we are making today and how those billions of people will suffer for it. ― Climate Progress Blog
Though short, Collapse provides a detailed examination of how we've failed our environment ― and a call to action to save what's left. ― Discover
About the Author
Erik M. Conway is a historian of science and technology employed by the California Institute of Technology. He recently received a NASA History award for "path-breaking contributions to space history, ranging from aeronautics to Earth and space sciences," and an AIAA History Manuscript Award for his fourth book, Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History.
- Item Weight : 3.84 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 023116954X
- Paperback : 104 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0231169547
- Dimensions : 4.7 x 0.4 x 6.6 inches
- Publisher : Columbia University Press; Illustrated edition (July 1, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #305,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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One of the biggest problems with scientific discoveries is that scientists seldom publish their work in a forum or a form that is accessible or understandable to the non-scientific community of voters, policy makers, et al. This short book/long essay by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway is a fantastic addition to the conversation on climate change and its potential effects.
If you are looking for a sic-fi novel, look elsewhere. If you are looking for an overview of what climate change or climate science is, look elsewhere. But if you are interested in considering intersections between science, communication, business, history, creative thinking and climate change then this little book is for you.
FYI, this is not a light version of "Merchants of Doubt" (also a fantastic read). This book is instead, a way to consider the path we are on and seem determined to stay on with respect to climate change regardless of what science discovers and which actions it recommends.
The writing is clear and concise, but not what I'd call brilliant though the ideas presented are. We are on a downward slope and have been for decades when it comes to climate. We know the causes of climate change. We know the effects, current and future if we don't change. This book outlines much of what science can predict with confidence.
The one criticism I have is that the authors resort to a techno-fix for climate change rather than letting it run its course. Perhaps the alternative was simply too bleak to imagine...
5 stars. Important message...should be read be everyone
I never heard of type 1 errors or type 2 errors before reading This book. Lot of science stuff here. I will now add the audible.
This is an important book because it covers the so much stuff while offering the real deal in fiction style. Footnotes give real resources to the historical moral corruption perpetrated by the fossil fuel complex and the US Government. You should expect to hear about the "Tobacco Strategy" here as it became a tool for the fossil fuel industry's climate deception campaigns (See the ClimateDeception.Net) for more important links.
There are some choice quotes from science fiction writers, including Asimove. What is most important is the look to the past of climate change and how we now have a new climate change predicted by many scientists.
The criminality of the climate deceivers cannot be overstated. They politicized climate science while denigrating climate scientists. Meanwhile, they've worked at causing misinformation and a US population hostile to fact based evidence. I'm still reading with a bit more to go. The links prove out as real and they often match what I have used on my own web sites (KillerOceans.Com - PercentCounts.Com - ClimateDeception.Net; all non-profit of course). Eddie Evans - ClimateDeception.Net
The authors' use of actual political and economic philosophies, blending of real and imagined legislation regarding climate change, and determination to approach climate change with a modicum of objectivity thanks to its imagined historical framework really drove home what is at stake, how the future might look, and how ridiculous our present approach to climate change really is. Bravo to the authors for penning such an intriguing work, one that is highly imaginative and yet deeply rooted in real evidence. Highly recommended reading for, well, everyone, really!
Top reviews from other countries
A satirical look at the appalling prospects for the rest of this century, from the point of view of a Chinese historian from the year 2393, this book skewers our idiotic complacency, fossil fuel vested interests and the general deadly dithering over global heating.
The only thing wrong with it was that it was too short!