I may have only given this four stars, but it is clear that "Climate Cover-up: the Crusade to Deny Global Warming" emphasizes and explores a five-star...moreI may have only given this four stars, but it is clear that "Climate Cover-up: the Crusade to Deny Global Warming" emphasizes and explores a five-star, unequivocally compelling topic, which is the ongoing and deepening sustainability and climate crisis.
Hoggan wants to make you angry. You should be angry, and he generally succeeds, but he doesn't grab the reader's attention as strongly as possible. Hoggan targets the oil industry, the coal industry, and other monied interests that would be less successful under additional environmental regulation, digging into the ways in which they have worked extremely diligently to avoid that regulation. The book provides details of the various strategies that these interests have used, which largely reduce to lies and misdirection to confuse and slow down any decision-making with respect to the crisis.
The book discusses all this in great detail, and provides historical context, but even Hoggan asserts that he doesn't want it to be a history. The book does a great job of pointing the spotlight on the motivations and strategies of those who would derail progress on the sustainability crisis, but it does not provide a continuous narrative, which might have helped to draw the reader more deeply into the reality of the situation. The approach that the book does take comes off as being a bit detached, and this is only aggravated by a poor analogy that Hoggan returns to several times throughout the book.
That said, the insight that this book provides is extremely valuable, and it is a great jumping off point for further research. Hoggan has a rich list of real life villains and heroes, with the challenge reaching to all of us to learn as much as possible about both in order to arm ourselves with the information that we'll need to make good decisions going forward.(less)
The title of this book is really well chosen. Jesus's response to the Pharisees has always been a mystery to me. This book provides some useful discus...moreThe title of this book is really well chosen. Jesus's response to the Pharisees has always been a mystery to me. This book provides some useful discussion about this interaction, and provides a good platform for the reader to contemplate its meaning, but it is telling that I am still not clear on what Jesus meant after reading this book. Chaput preaches a strong sermon about the need for Catholics to engage, rather than retreat from, the world, but even so it seems like he isn't sure what form that engagement should take.(less)
In a series of essays, Heinberg calls us to action on various aspects of the problem that our energy addiction is causing and will cause in the near f...moreIn a series of essays, Heinberg calls us to action on various aspects of the problem that our energy addiction is causing and will cause in the near future. Solving this problem is, of course, critical, and Heinberg has a good voice for shedding light on the nature of the problem. I was greatly agitated by the introduction (which is, of course, the point), but the rest of the book seemed less cohesive, although still compelling. The introduction (which I recommend to everyone) is a short and sharp summary of the problem of energy addiction (which generally manifests itself in our discourse as Peak Energy and Climate Change); Heinberg states directly that the book is not meant to go into detail about the problem, for he leaves that task to other books. The rest of the book is interesting and certainly frightening, but it explodes in a dozen different directions. It seems like the book is not meant to stand alone, but is instead a sort of continuation of Heinberg's other books. In addition, the book seems resigned about the problem, and I left it uncertain how to proceed, myself. I may start, however, by trying to complete the picture with his other books, as well as other sources.(less)
In "The Lives of a Cell", Lewis Thomas dances around the question of what life is, and what it means to be alive. This book is a collection of essays...moreIn "The Lives of a Cell", Lewis Thomas dances around the question of what life is, and what it means to be alive. This book is a collection of essays that discuss biology, language, society, and other issues of naturalism and scientific observation that weave together into a rather unique way of looking at the lives of individuals with respect to the others. When I had finished this book, I was very excited by the new way I looked at the world around me, and eagerly discussed many of its concepts with friends and family. The individual essays sometimes overlap, but overall form an organic whole, which is amusing because one of the core theses of the book is the way in which overlap between individuals in a society tends to form a larger organism.(less)