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World Without End? Hardcover – Import, June 10, 2008
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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Thankfully, he's right. The author keeps this book blessedly free of opinion, polemics and politics. It is simply a very interesting collection of essays that discuss the collision of civilization and the environment, particularly the climate. He starts with the first tribes to cross over the land bridge that existed for a brief period between Alaska and Asia (a climate story in itself), and looks at how even these few people impacted their environment. He goes on to cover the American Great Plains, the Mayans, and the stories of a green and forest covered Mediterranean, among several others. He finishes with a look at the modern day, including the Maldives and the Three Gorges Dam in China. Along the way, he destroys several currently popular myths, but never with any obvious agenda. It's worth several reads, and provides much of the real data and history most people lack when discussing climate issues.
I can see where those who fear climate change would be disappointed, as there is no call to action. There is no End of the World scenario, and he is fairly optimistic about our future climate concerns.
And I suppose this is why the book never caught on. No fear mongering, no carefully built case to convince the reader that they must view the world a certain way. For a change, here's a modest book that treats the reader with some respect, and simply provides historical information about environmental and climatic changes as they effected humans. A highly recommended read for someone who just wants the facts, presented in a highly readable way, with feeling they are being led one way or the other.