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The Witch of Hebron (World Made by Hand, #2)
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The Witch of Hebron (World Made by Hand #2)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,255 ratings  ·  201 reviews
In the sequel to his novel, World Made by Hand, Kunstler expands on his vision of a post-oil society with a new novel about an America in which the electricity has flickered off, the Internet is a distant memory, and the government is little more than a rumor.

In the tiny hamlet of Union Grove, New York, travel is horse-drawn and farming is back at the center of life. But
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published August 1st 2010)
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World Made by Hand by James Howard KunstlerThe Witch of Hebron by James Howard KunstlerOne Second After by William R. ForstchenLights Out by David CrawfordDeep Winter by Thomas Sherry
Post-Petroleum Fiction
2nd out of 23 books — 27 voters
The Stand by Stephen KingThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWorld War Z by Max Brooks1984 by George Orwell
Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
201st out of 722 books — 2,215 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,209)
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Chance Maree
While the characters and plot had promise, the effect of the novel felt very hollow to me. I can only point to the prose itself, where phrases were coined from cerebral rather than visual or emotional words. Some moments were evident where the writer tried to be writer-ly, which threw a wet blanket on the whole scene and depressed the mood going forward.

Although visual descriptions were offered, none burned in my mind like other works I've read, yet many should have. While the characters moved
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Sandi
I won this through First Reads.

I was a little worried when I got this that I might not be able to follow it because I hadn't read World Made by Hand. Fortunately, this is one of those sequels that completely stands alone. It's a cozy post-apocalyptic story in which a boy runs away, gets tied up with a crazy bandit named Billy Bones, several people meet a mysterious woman, and a band of Jesus freaks really are freaks. It had a very old-fashioned feel to it, kind of like Alas, Babylon or Earth Ab
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William Thomas


If I were to call this book comical, it would mean that the author had intended it to be as such. So I can't do that. Because I'm certain that it wasn't intentionally comical. I laughed out loud for the absurdity of some of it. I couldn't help myself. The fact that the writer is taking this seriously made it all the more hilarious.

A melodramatic post-apocalyptic tale (a genre which I think I may steer clear of for a time, seeing as how it is all anyone can form a story around) that comes off un
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Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I'm not sure why exactly I decided to read James Howard Kunstler's newest post-apocalyptic "doom-n-gloomer" novel The Witch of Hebron; after all, I found the first book in this series, 2008's World Made by Hand, rather ridiculously silly, taking what's actually a fairly fascinating true subject (the fact t
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Megan
Kunstler makes the post-oil life in a small upstate NY town sound a little too good to be true. Sure, half of the US population is dead, there's no electricity and people don't stray too far from home because of packs of roving bandits...but there's still fresh garden produce, local cheese, homemade wine and friendly neighbors. I am not sure of the author's message. We (well, half of us) will pull through the collapse of the world as we know it and establish a much simpler, but maybe richer, lif ...more
Howard
The second book in a series, The Witch of Hebron follows the small community of Union Grove as its residents carry on with life after the fall of modern civilization. The collapse seems to have been a gradual one; the exhaustion of the world’s oil supply creating a ripple effect, crumbling governments and countries, leaving citizens to fend for themselves, forming small communities such as Union Grove.

The citizens of Union Grove aren’t eking out an almost hopeless existence in a desolate wastel
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E.m.
Just picked it up from the library and have it and a few other awesome books to read. 'Think I'll take the week off to stay home and read, that should be okay, right?
Randy
The Witch of Hebron is part 2 of what could be a long series of post-apocalyptic novels about a small community in Upper New York State and how they cope with no electricity or gasoline after the collapse of the USA and nuclear war. The details of all of history is hazy because the characters in the story don't know exactly what happened. There existence has been focused to the locality where they live with little news from the outside filtering through. Life has reverted to a nineteenth century ...more
Margaret
This book is an extremely fast-paced, plot-driven sequel to Kunstler's "World Made by Hand" that offers more insight into what the author thinks (or hopes) will happen after the collapse of industrial civilization in America. I attended a book signing by the author for this book, where he proclaimed that the story was about the "re-enchantment" of the world after the humm and distraction of modern technology vanishes. The re-enchantment takes on a religious tone, as an intentional community of y ...more
wally
yes.

this is the first story from kunstler i have read. i enjoyed it.

the world we know no longer exists...in a sense, this is a western...men ride horses, or mules. and too, the world has taken on...more of the religious tone of the past. by that, the mystical mysterious stuff is back. things happen.

the telling is like traveling from point a to point b, in a sense. there are other stories like that, the journey...huck finn, the stand from stephen king...the road~mccarthy....the outlander...

those
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David Galloway
The Witch of Hebron is the sequel to James Howard Kunstler's first novel A World Made By Hand and like the first it is filled with stories that concern the residents of an Upstate NY town in a postapocalyptic world.

The people in these books have had to suffer through a Middle Eastern war that resulted in Washington, DC being nuked and all foreign oil ceasing to flow to the US. A decade or two after this life has gone back to a late 19th century feel where people travel by horse, the doctor grow
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David
Aug 29, 2010 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John
On the whole, I find the near-future world that Kunstler envisions compelling--a United States that has collapsed due to energy shortages, economic woes, and terrorism, but where people are still going on with the project of civilization. The world has a sort of wild west feel to it, though it's set in upstate New York--towns are fairly civilized, fairly safe, but the wilderness between has a wildness to it, and that sometimes spills over.

I also enjoyed the story that Kunstler weaves here from
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Dave
While I enjoyed this book's predecessor, World Made By Hand, this time Mr. Kunstler doesn't rehash as much of his non-fiction work (The Long Emergency, The Geography of Nowhere) as he did there. Instead, he jumps right into the story, and, for those of us familiar with his other work, the story is much better for it.

While World Made By Hand had some good story arcs and strong passages, the overall effect was less fluid than The Witch of Hebron. This time around it's pure story, and it's a fun ri
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Docta_b
Kunstler's sequel is satisfying enough, though it continues the very masculine tilt of much of his writing. The female characters in this book, at least the primary supporting woman, actually has more dimension than any in 'World Made By Hand' though I did find it somewhat bothersome that her power was largely derived from sexual influence (even if of the witchy, cerebral nature) over men. Still, a good enough read. Must say this now feels like a trapse into escapism fiction more and more rather ...more
Mike
Kuntstler continues his story of the people of Union Grove, New York, in a world without oil, electricity, and technology. The second volume takes a turn toward the supernatural with more glimpses into the powers of Brother Jobe and a new character, the Witch of Hebron. Kuntsler adds to his circle of characters with a singing bandit, Billy Bones who composes a ballad about his exploits, victim by victim-a chilling portrait of an anti-social personality. Kuntsler delivers a story of despair and h ...more
Julie
I've read the first one in this series - mostly out of curiosity about the title, "World Made By Hand." I'm disappointed that this novel is just as thin as the first, both because the premise is so fascinating and timely and because I respect the author so much. His non-fiction books are satisfyingly straight-talking critiques of our insane land-use patterns and lack of community. And non one gives a more entertaining lecture.

The plot is sound, a coming-of-age story that moves at a good pace an
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Sam Wescott
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karenbike Patterson
I loved this even more than World Made by Hand. There is a very compelling plot, complex and believable characters, and a hopeful outlook. It is a different coming of age story about a boy from Union Grove and his encounters with the bandit Billy Bones. But, typical of many books written in this decade, there is clairvoyance and people who can "see" into you and the future. Again, this story seems a more possible prediction of the world after the bomb and its following epidemics.
Melissa
The author did a good job of taking many story lines and bringing them all together. I wish Kunstler had stuck with the reality of life in Grover's Corners and not added in mystical happenings. Not has good as "World Made By Hand" but a 2 1/2 to 3 star read.
Another thing: It feels like the author was setting up his next book in this one. That was a trifle annoying.
S. K. Pentecost
The Witch of Hebron, by James Howard Kuntsler does very little to advance the world building begun in World Made by Hand. The story wanders through most of the same post apocalyptic upstate New York set down in his first novel and is viewed through most of the same eyes.

Kuntsler manages to deliver a couple of bright points. One, in the form of Billy Bones, a highwayman you can't help but love, then can't help but hate. And the other in Brother Job who still occupies a middle ground full of vague
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Rachel
I still liked this book, like the first. Some aspects of the post apocalyptic world rang true but, like the first book, it was a sausage fest. Women only exist in this world/book in the background as wives, mothers or sex partners. The title implies that perhaps this book would include a fleshed out female character but her parts were still all told from the point of view of the male characters and her existence is to help men who come to visit her because of course she is beautiful and of cours ...more
Natalie
I really liked the post-apocalyptic feel of the first book, A World by Hand, because it explored an idea of what the life we are living now could lead to. But the geography and sociology underlying the first book were entirely absent here. The characters were unbelievable, and most importantly this book DID NOT feel post-apocalyptic. Honestly, this book could have been set in the 1600's with a few changes. Blah. I have always loved Kunstler's books, but I am now resolved to only read his non-fic ...more
Nicole
Weird. Weird as heck. Lots more violence and sex than the previous volume, more magical realism stuff also. Still very patriarchal - this one is written in multiple viewpoint 3rd person, and still I think there was only ONE chapter written from the viewpoint of a female character. The women in this book exist mainly to have sex with the men. Yes, there is a powerful and mysterious female character introduced, but she turns out to be basically a magical sex therapist. Not to denigrate sex therapi ...more
JoLynn
I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads Program

The Witch of Hebron is a fine coming-of-age story wrapped in a post-apocalyptic novel. Jasper, the eleven year old son of the only doctor in a small town in New York, runs away after the loss of his beloved dog. He is tested by both events and people that he encounters as he makes his way to Glen Falls New York, where he believes he will have a chance to start a new life as a doctor's assistant and later as a full-fledged doctor.

The post-a
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Marian
I received this good as a First Reads Giveaway. It was thoroughly enjoyable. The characters are realistic and relatable for the most part and I found myself intrigued to find out what happens. In this world of post-oil society, everyone seems to have found their places. This was the most put together, least anarchistic, least traumatized post apocalyptic world I have encountered to date. Since this is the second book in a series, I'm sure I missed some things but it is a great stand alone as wel ...more
Cameron
I wouldn't recommend reading this without first reading World Made by Hand, just due to the initial flood of exposition that occurs as Kunstler tries to sum up the previous events and character relationships.

The quality of writing seems unchanged, though I gave one less star due to the amount of sex in this sequel. I swear I felt like I was reading a smut novel after a while. I guess Kunstler decided he enjoys writing that kind of stuff, which is fine and all, but just not my bag.

I'm also not to
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Michael Nutter
One of the most realistic "post-apocalyptic" novels I've read. It does not go in for the sensational or the fast moving plot, like much science fiction does. Instead it tries to show what the details of life might be like after the initial ravages of post peak-oil and global warming take place, with their attendant famines, wars, social breakdown, and disease epidemics.

People have moved out of the big metropolitan areas because the transportation infrustructure and the agri-business food networ
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Shawn Fairweather
This was a Goodreads freebie and I am glad to have won it. The Witch of Hebron is a bit of an post-apocalypse story with out all the destruction and chaos one typically finds. In this case the northern Hudson River valley in NY is existing in the future as if in a time period similar to what would be found in Little House on the Prairie, however due to a horrible holy war that let to the end of technology that we know of today, thus reverting back to a period of simplicity and bartering with an ...more
Heather
I won this book through Goodreads.

I read the prequel, World Made by Hand, several months ago, so that I'd be able to aptly read/review this latest novel: this seems to be a must, since many foundations to the storyline are rooted in book one. I will honestly say that I rounded up the star-rating for the first book, giving it three star for effort mostly.

I was surprising pleased to find that the author revamped many of the writing issues that plagued book one, transforming the story from a monot
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James Howard Kunstler (born 1948) is an American author, social critic, and blogger who is perhaps best known for his book The Geography of Nowhere, a history of suburbia and urban development in the United States. He is prominently featured in the peak oil documentary, The End of Suburbia, widely circulated on the internet. In his most recent non-fiction book, The Long Emergency (2005), he argues ...more
More about James Howard Kunstler...
World Made by Hand The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World For the 21st Century The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition

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