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Enjoyed this book from front cover to rear found myself repeatedly wishing someone were handy so I could read a paragraph aloud to them The author is knowledgable, authoritative, writes elegantly with humor clarity First foremost he is an energy expert with long term experience in the fossil fuel industry He claims that the amazing achievements of the last 100 or so years were fueled by depended entirely upon cheap, abundant energy that that very energy was magic as it was unlike Enjoyed this book from front cover to rear found myself repeatedly wishing someone were handy so I could read a paragraph aloud to them The author is knowledgable, authoritative, writes elegantly with humor clarity First foremost he is an energy expert with long term experience in the fossil fuel industry He claims that the amazing achievements of the last 100 or so years were fueled by depended entirely upon cheap, abundant energy that that very energy was magic as it was unlike anything in our previous history unlike anything in our future It should be added that he does not ignore the fact that this magic also brought about our current circumstances of climate disruption, extinction of species overall resource depletion He says we ve become hooked on energy just like addicts we expect our drug of choice to continue to be available We re willing to accept different sources of energy but we expect not to be inconvenienced beyond what goes in the tank BUT he says, sadly that our hopes cannot be satisfied Alternative renewable energy sources will not be sufficient to replace fossil fuels civilization as we know it will have to change, simplify, becomelocalized In his description of how the change might develop, he parallels the ground covered by Orlov but without providing the same ghastly details as Orlov Kuntsler admits that he is not a survivalist Besides the surface similarities to Orlov, Kuntsler covers some territory staked out by Wendell Berry in describing the possible charms of our coming simplified localized lifestyles This is a book with a ton of food for thought should not be missed I will be simple and to the point If you are aware of Kunstler and his ideas then you probably do not need to bother with this one There really isn t anything new although he does make a nice effort tying the vulgarities of peak oil with all of the recent financial shenanigans His comments about a lack of future capital for oil ng exploration and exploitation are thought provoking If, however, you have never heard of Kunstler then I recommend this book as it will make youaware of the p I will be simple and to the point If you are aware of Kunstler and his ideas then you probably do not need to bother with this one There really isn t anything new although he does make a nice effort tying the vulgarities of peak oil with all of the recent financial shenanigans His comments about a lack of future capital for oil ng exploration and exploitation are thought provoking If, however, you have never heard of Kunstler then I recommend this book as it will make youaware of the peak oil issue and how it just might plow over you with the force of a freight train if you decide to remain ignorant of its dire message Nothing new if you follow Kunstler. This is a continuation of the socio political prophecy of Kunstler s earlier book, THE LONG EMERGENCY He foresaw a future in which America would face the end of cheap oil, with all the economic and political crises that would follow from that This book s premise is that we are now in that long emergency, having hit the Peak Oil moment in 2006 This is the long predicted moment when oil production has reached its limit, and will begin to decline, regardless of demand For an industrial world This is a continuation of the socio political prophecy of Kunstler s earlier book, THE LONG EMERGENCY He foresaw a future in which America would face the end of cheap oil, with all the economic and political crises that would follow from that This book s premise is that we are now in that long emergency, having hit the Peak Oil moment in 2006 This is the long predicted moment when oil production has reached its limit, and will begin to decline, regardless of demand For an industrial world founded on cheap oil, this is a catastrophe Kunstler is funny and angry, and writes really well he s published 10 or so novels, including two recent ones that take place in a world after the end of oil He rages against the American suburbanization following WWII as The most tragic misallocation of resources in the history of the world In this book he makes two points about Too much magic First, we ve been too successful with our technology that we developed in the age of cheap oil Air flight, space travel, plentiful food, the electric grid, the internet these are all miracles that we take for granted and are even bored with because we ve had this surfeit of technology But that technology was the product of energy, and the energy is running out His second point about too much magic is that we have not faced the reality that fossil fuels were finite and that they allowed us to overpopulate the world, abuse nature and create overly complex systems of finance, politics and culture Now the fossil fuels are disappearing and we are stuck in a desperate cycle of magical thinking, sure that some new technology is going to replace them and protect our way of life We don t want to hear anything about economic and ecological contraction, it is so scary This is definitely the kind of book that gets called a Jeremiad but that s a little dismisssive Kunstler is mad because he cares, and because he knows how painful the new life of living with less will be for everyone He doesn t spare anyone on the political spectrum, for we ve all avoided facing the fact that our too complex banking, business and political systems are letting us down If you haven t read THE LONG EMERGENCY it might pay to read it first, or at least to get some info in your head about Peak Oil and its consequences This book may depress you, but it could also help prepare you to face the fact, that the bill is coming due for this long, long party we ve had in the age of cheap oil This is a wonderful follow up to The Long Emergency I would say you should absolutely read the Long Emergency first this is definitely a follow up book there s a lot less in the way of facts and figures and a lotsort of grumpy philosophical musing and citing facts and figures that he laid out thoroughly in his previous work It s a fantastic book, but should not stand alone this really should be read only after you ve finished The Long Emergency Any way you cut it though, it s the This is a wonderful follow up to The Long Emergency I would say you should absolutely read the Long Emergency first this is definitely a follow up book there s a lot less in the way of facts and figures and a lotsort of grumpy philosophical musing and citing facts and figures that he laid out thoroughly in his previous work It s a fantastic book, but should not stand alone this really should be read only after you ve finished The Long Emergency Any way you cut it though, it s the same despairing, cranky, caustic, abrasive, no nonsense, cut and dry, BS free Kuntsler that I know and love He s Funny as hell, a very entertaining writer which is really what makes such depressing literature so oddly delightful I feel a sort of vague nihilistic satisfaction emanating from his work especially this one It s a kind of See I told you this was going to happen but it s going to get a whole lot worse here s how and why Oddly, I find this undertone of smugness to be satisfying rather than obnoxious I m frankly sick of climate scientists and science writers being overly optimistic and spinning tales of an alt energy paradise It s not almost too late, it s super duper completely too late We re WAY beyond the point of no return and I think Kunstler is one of only a handful of people who recognize or are willing to acknowledge publicly for which he takes a lot of grief this deeply disturbing fact It s part of what makes him so appealing to me I now avoid books with titles like Doom, and How We Can Avoid It because that s nonsense There s no avoiding it This hesitance about their own terrifying conclusions a tactic that scientists use in abundance a sort of skeptical caution about their own work partially because constantly re examining your data is just how science works, but partially because the world specifically the powerful right wing lobbyists, politicians, and those who benefit most from keeping on as we are has become so completely hostile to people who suggest this way of life is unsustainable that many climatologists the like are terrorized by email inboxes full of threats and insults Clive Hamilton approaches the psychology of this brilliantly in Requiem for a Species It s time the media brought our civilizations imminent collapse to center stage, but it s not going to happen Ineffectual governments, dishonest or misguided political figures, apathetic, ignorant populations, and habit keep us stuck in this rut JHK is one of a very small number of authors who are willing to approach this topic realistically peppered of course with his characteristically harsh wit I have a whole shelf full of climate change, peak resource, and other doom related literature Richard Heinberg, Clive Hamilton, Mark Lynas, Fred Gutrl, James Hansen, Heidi Cullen, Peter Ward, Bill McKibben but of all of this gloomy stuff, I really truly ENJOY Kunstler the most He s the funniest, and the most relatable I would recommend his book to a friend before ANY of these others He s definitely the only one of them who s made me LOL.Highly recommended, AFTER you read The Long Emergency A compelling presentation of the end of civilization as we know it due to the inevitable limits of a finite world But is anyone listening I m sensitive to profane words, and so didn t appreciate Kunstler s too casual use of such words Aside from that issue, I enjoyed his writing style Sometimes you just want to hear someone express your most intense frustrations Kunstler is a master at raving, and he has plenty to rave about The environment and society both are terminally ill The western lifestyle that is utterly dependent on cheap oil is the cause of that illness, and yet we keep carrying on with business like a bunch of add I m sensitive to profane words, and so didn t appreciate Kunstler s too casual use of such words Aside from that issue, I enjoyed his writing style Sometimes you just want to hear someone express your most intense frustrations Kunstler is a master at raving, and he has plenty to rave about The environment and society both are terminally ill The western lifestyle that is utterly dependent on cheap oil is the cause of that illness, and yet we keep carrying on with business like a bunch of addicts who can t kick the habit that s killing us Wake up, America Stop before it s too late That being said, Kunstler is one of the doomsayers At one point, he acknowledges that people often call him that He denies it He insists that he is a cheerful fellow with hope for the future, it s just for a future that will not be like the present In spite of his resistance to the label, it is what he is Yet, what he doesn t understand is that it isn t his knowledge about the trouble ahead that makes people insist that he is a doomsayer It is his very vision, albeit somewhat hopeful, of the future that is at issue He sees the future as at best some grim, dark, after the apocolypse, return to agrarian society That is the doom that people are labeling him with.I believe in the coming crisis, as well all should It could involve some real horrors like war, looting, collapse of government, and so forth However, ultimately I believe humanity will get back up, dust itself off, and rebuild healthy communities And I believe that much of the drama could be averted by preparing for it now Communities are capable of filling in the gaps that the collapse will take away Local food, water, energy and so forth will be the future Whether we do something about it now, or go through the drama first is up to us I was very early in life inoculated against the triumphs of technology and imprinted instead with a respectful hypersensitivity for its implications and this conditioning has led me much later in life to take an extremely skeptical view of what is commonly regarded as progress By an odd coincidence, I have also found myself later in life in a society that is crumbling under the weight of its investments in technology and tortured by the unintended consequences and diminishing returns o I was very early in life inoculated against the triumphs of technology and imprinted instead with a respectful hypersensitivity for its implications and this conditioning has led me much later in life to take an extremely skeptical view of what is commonly regarded as progress By an odd coincidence, I have also found myself later in life in a society that is crumbling under the weight of its investments in technology and tortured by the unintended consequences and diminishing returns of these investments , not to mention the agony of its ongoing fantasies about a technological rescue from the very predicaments already spawned by the misuse of technology pp 243 4 If you find yourself resonating with any of those sentiments, you may want to check out this collection of informed rants by the author ofThe Long Emergencyand the World Made By Hand novels Many of the topics will be familiar to readers of his blog peak oil, peak finance, the cultural cul de sac of Happy Motoring, the bankruptcy of modern architecture and urban planning, the implications of climate change, the failure of contemporary party politics, the future of race relations in the US, and the sorry implications of the ubiquitous tattoo He even has a chapter on Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity, which Kunstler sees with some good reason as a sort of religion Not much of the information here is new, and I don t always agree with Kunstler, but the book is decently written and oftentimes pretty funny Far, far away, on the misty frontiers of knowledge, dwells a small and widely scattered clan of clear thinkers who live with their eyes wide open, their minds always set to the on position, and their powers of reasoning cranked up to 10 They have an acute ability to instantly recognize the presence of balderdash and poppycock, even in parts per billion quantities Even if the source is a slick talking president, a gray haired instructor, an industry expert, or a famous sexy celebrity, they kn Far, far away, on the misty frontiers of knowledge, dwells a small and widely scattered clan of clear thinkers who live with their eyes wide open, their minds always set to the on position, and their powers of reasoning cranked up to 10 They have an acute ability to instantly recognize the presence of balderdash and poppycock, even in parts per billion quantities Even if the source is a slick talking president, a gray haired instructor, an industry expert, or a famous sexy celebrity, they know without a doubt when claptrap and twaddle are shamelessly being ejaculated They can keep their eyes on the ball, even in the thick fog of a never ending propaganda blitzkrieg These isolated wizards refuse to drink the Kool Aid and dream away their lives in the colorful cartoon fantasy world of consumer society They aren t giddy with childlike excitement about the latest new cars, shoes, cell phones, and hairdos They have no throbbing hunger for RVs, McMansions, or jet skis They don t rot and soak into the couch cushions while sitting in front of flashing screaming TVs Their minds are capable of voyaging to realms far beyond the dreary two step death march of working and shopping.They often dwell on mountaintops, sitting beside a fire, horrified at the spectacular stupidity of the industrial civilization spread out below them killing the oceans, killing the forests, killing the prairies, killing their children, killing everything they touch all for no good reason Nothing could bebefuddling and painful to watch What could they be thinking Why can t they see what s happening James Howard Kunstler is one of those clear thinkers, and the twenty first century is just driving him bonkers It s ridiculously easy for clear thinkers to comprehend the glaring, obvious truth, and they can t understand why most of humankind seems to be incapable of doing this, too Kunstler can see that consumer society remains on the worst possible path, and at every fork, they choose the bigger mistake It s immensely pathetic, to the degree that the tragedy develops a ticklish aroma of comedy, and Kunstler uses wit like a sharp whip Consumers behave as if they are completely disconnected from almost every aspect of reality, spending their lives in an artificial world of pure whimsy They are like excited children waiting for piles of fun presents from Santa Claus They have a profound blind faith that science and technology will protect everyone with its boundless magic Kunstler calls this the Jiminy Cricket Syndrome When you wish upon a star your dreams come true In his book, Too Much Magic, Kunstler hurls a super sized bucket of ice water in a heroic attempt to rouse sleeping zombies into a state of consciousness By the time you read this, the empire in question may be a smoldering ruin He rips down the curtains and reveals the stinking, burning, fever crazed world outside Wake up We re speeding toward multiple catastrophes This entire book is about the manifold failures of all kinds of people to anticipate the changes we face Fossil energy is the foundation of our world economy The global production of conventional oil peaked in 2006 By 2008, the price of oil had skyrocketed to 147 big trouble With regard to the miraculous new shale oil and shale gas fields, he s convinced that most of the hope is based on industry hype, intended to attract dreamy investors and half smart high risk gamblers All the magic in the world cannot replace fossil energy with alternative energy, or even come close.The end of the 90 year era of Happy Motoring is approaching, and we re not far from the peak of suburban sprawl American style suburbia was the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world Suburbia has no future, but Americans haven t grasped this yet I expect many suburbs will become slums, ruins, and salvage yards Southern California will turn into a ghost town.Shortly after oil hit 147, the housing bubble popped, the financial system collapsed, and trillions of dollars vaporized The collapse is far from over, since banks still hold a huge number of worthless mortgages, pretending that they are assets pretending that they are not the living dead A shortage of capital means that perpetual economic growth is close to finished This means that trillions of dollars of debt are never going to be repaid This means that the party is over This means that we re moving into an age of contraction Economic life is going to get much smaller,local, and will use far less energy Much of the labor force will be shifted toward the production of food If we choose to acknowledge this, then we could make efforts to contract in an orderly manner If we choose to bet everything on magic, the trip down will bebrutal, painful, and dumb This is the core message of the book.Kunstler takes us on a tour of a number of problems that are major threats to our future, and a few lesser issues that he just enjoys kvetching about like infantile young bozos who wear their baggie pants way too low He laments that the overpopulation problem has been assigned to Mother Nature to fix, since we re not capable of giving it serious thought He grieves over our unwillingness to do anything to slow the advance of climate change Well, we re totally eager to help in any way that doesn t involve changing our lifestyle to the slightest degree He spews extra large doses of venom on the political system and the finance industry.George W Bush was a memorable president He involved us in two expensive wars for no good reason He nearly succeeded in obliterating our economy He made conservatives look like a clown act Many believed that his shenanigans would drive the Republican Party into extinction Nobody imagined that Barack Obama would grab the baton and simply maintain the same policies his 1 campaign contributor was Goldman Sachs.Obama approved borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars for stimulus spending, mostly for highway projects and runway improvements, updating a transportation system that has no future Tens of thousands of finance industry fraudsters are never going to wait in line at the guillotine, because the president completely refused to enforce existing laws Obama will be remembered for botched health care reform, a dumb energy policy, keeping two of the longest wars in our history going, and not reestablishing the rule of law in banking in the face of arrant misconduct He gives us Reality for Dummies, but not Solutions for Dummies No amount of magic can undo climate change, painlessly shrink our population, make coal burning clean, or fix our economy But today is an excellent day to open our eyes, and make an effort to comprehend our dire predicament Today is an excellent day to take a good look, to see if there are less catastrophic places to crash land our airborne Titanic At this point, it s all about damage control, and trying very hard to learn as much as possible from our mistakes It s about clear thinking ^DOWNLOAD ⇨ Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation ↟ James Howard Kunstler s critically acclaimed and best selling The Long Emergency, originally published in , quickly became a grassroots hit, going into nine printings in hardcover Kunstler s shocking vision of our post oil future caught the attention of environmentalists and business leaders alike, and stimulated widespread discussion about our dependence on fossil fuels and our dysfunctional financial and government institutions Kunstler has since been profiled in The New Yorker and invited to speak at TED In Too Much Magic, Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years and shows us that, in a post financial crisis world, his ideas are relevant than ever Too Much Magic is what Kunstler sees in the bright visions of a future world dreamed up by optimistic souls who believe technology will solve all our problems Their visions remind him of the flying cars and robot maids that were the dominant images of the future in the s Kunstler s image of the future is much sober With vision, clarity of thought, and a pragmatic worldview, Kunstler argues that the time for magical thinking and hoping for miracles is over, and the time to begin preparing for the long emergency has begun