The book section
is broken down
the following categories.
If you can read only one book about
peak oil and its potential to disrupt human life on earth, this should
Mr. Kunstler is not saying anything new here. While you can debate his
future scenarios (and I'm sure he'd welcome, even encourage, it), the
facts he lays down are not in contention. Unless you live in a hide
tent stitched with sinew, everything that you see around you at this
moment has been unselectively brought to you by cheap oil. The platform
for modern civilization is a limitless oil supply. And if you think 40
years is plenty of time to retool a way of life a few hundred million
people now blindly take for granted, then you have obviously never
attended a school board meeting.
Imagine that you couldn't get to a school board meeting even if you
wanted to go. Imagine, in fact, that the meeting is about closing the
school because students and teachers can't get there by foot and there
is no way to heat the building this winter. The priority on the
remaining oil supply, you see, is for the manufacture of plastic solar
panels and steel steam engines. Oh, wait, where are those manufacturing
Mr. Kunstler's book is pointing out that there may not be enough time
left to make an orderly transition out of our oil-based economy; the
political, social, economic and environmental conditions are not good
and history is not on our side. Unless someone raises the alarm and
enough people start responding appropriately and almost immediately,
things look grim. This is the alarm. You can still respond
appropriately. Or not.
Amazon review by K. Wells
The world is about to run out of cheap oil and
change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will
peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to
alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to
do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are
entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter
was from medieval times.
In The Party's Over, Richard Heinberg
places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how
industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how
competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the
twentieth century and how contention for dwindling energy resources in
the twenty-first century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East,
Central Asia and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil
depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless
the United States-the world's foremost oil consumer-is willing to join
with other countries to implement a global program of resource
conservation and sharing, he also recommends a "managed collapse" that
might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in
More readable than other accounts of this issue,
with fuller discussion of the context, social implications and
recommendations for personal, community, national and global action,
Heinberg's updated book is a riveting wake-up call for human-kind as
the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and
influencing current US foreign policy.
Read The Party's Over
before reading Powerdown.
This is a followup to the earlier book,
'The Partys Over'. The basic thrust of this book is simple 'We are
going to run out of power soon, very soon so what are we going to do?'
The basic facts of overpopulation, energy and resource depletion basic
planet abuse and mismanagement are laid out in some detail tho there
are many references back to 'The Partys Over'. Although there can be
arguments made about exactly when the lights are going to go out, there
can be very little doubt that the lights are going to go out. Alternate
fuels like methane or tar sands - even hydrogen are shown to be simply
not practical or plentiful enough.
The possible scenarios for afterwards that are spelt out are not very
attractive. From 'Ignorance is bliss' to 'The Power grab', there is
going to be widespread misery for most as the world civilization
teeters and then collapses.
But there is an air of inevitability that permeates this book. The
author tries to be upbeat "Yes we can change the world" but all
evidence seems to point to the contrary - that the world is blind and
deaf and oblivious- that those leaders who should be preparing us for
the coming disaster are both uncaring and greedy.
Toynbee's theory about the rise and fall of past civilizations was
challenge and response. Civilizations reach a point where due to
varying factors the threat from outside is simply greater then the
inner ability to respond - so the civilization collapses. From the
Romans to the Mayas to the present day, the theory holds true.
Bush's "Pax Americana" - the power grab for control of the oil of the
mideast is just a salvo in the the opening scene of our final act.
Dwindling resources - energy food water fought over by an unmanageable
population paint a bleak future. Our end is already whimpering the bang
is in the foreseeable future.
Amazon review by S Troutt
above are this site's Top 3 recommendations.
in the Desert
The basis of this book is fear, not
unwanted fear spread by the author, but it is the emotion you start to
feel as you move through the book page by page. For good or bad the
U.S. and the world have become reliant on one natural resource that is
controlled by a very few countries and people. This fact alone should
have most of us concerned, 60% of the oil we use each day is controlled
by a bunch of countries that are primarily dictatorships surrounded by
people that would sooner burn the oil in mass dumping grounds instead
of selling it to us regardless of the price. We have become backed into
a corner and it appears that our only response so far as been to flex
What will happen if the oil fields in Saudi can not keep up with
demand? What if the production facilities are almost overmatched at
this point and further facilities are difficult to put in place? All of
these and more questions are covered in this book. The author also
talks about the populations and political situation in Saudi and the
picture he presents is another difficult and concerning one at that.
One can only hope that the production in Iraq gets up and running or
that better technology is hurried into production.
The footnotes and documented sources detailed in the book give it the
appearance of a very well documented and accurate study. The details on
the production process in Saudi is worth the price of the book alone.
It is a rather back handed slight at our news media that the very real
issues presented in this book have not yet made it to the talking heads
at 6 pm. Overall I enjoyed the book a great detail. It is well written
and put together. The reader is never lost in the detail no matter how
little previous knowledge the reader has about the oil business. What I
found was that the good was a very fast read given that it is difficult
to put it down. It is a book that we all need to read.
Amazon reviewer J Hillard
on Peak Oil can be