The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

~by James Howard Kunstler

What happens when the world runs out of oil? According to Kunstler, it won't be pretty. Or easy. In fact, it may be devastating, especially for nations that rely heavily and almost exclusively on the availability of cheap fuel. And what will make things worse is the advent of climate change, resistant disease, and escalating global instability. The world is facing a crisis that most people either don't realize exists or are trying to ignore. The possibility of disaster is very real, and the world may have already reached peak-oil. This is the "Long Emergency."

The author makes some very important points in his book. Repeatedly, as a matter of fact. Much of the material seems to be reiteration, and probably could have been cut to some extent. However, he was striving to get across some pertinent, and at times terrifying, information. Unfortunately, he doesn't include a bibliography, but he does site his facts periodically. The historic and political elements often seemed overly simplified, but were usually relevant. The sections I found most interesting were about alternative fuels, disease and climate change, and living during the "Long Emergency" (Chapters 4, 5, and 7, respectively). Most of the book is conjecture, since no one can really know what will happen, but it is definitely a plausible scenario. Kunstler's view is rather pessimistic, and he doesn't really offer any solutions or suggestions to the coming emergency, but the book was certainly eye-opening to the current state of affairs as well as some the possible scenarios that may present themselves.

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