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World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler
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Apr 10, 09


This book surprised me. At first, I was pleasantly surprised by the pastoral setting in this post-peak oil world. It's a unique treatment of the dystopian concept that was pretty engaging for the first half of the book--and fully believable. It's not difficult to imagine that in a world where central government, transportation & the energy industry has collapsed, we'd have no choice but to go back to the land. That they seem to have reverted back to the language patterns of the frontier times annoyed me, but I wrote it off to the fact that they're in rural upstate New York. However, the second half of the book kind of falls apart--the characters' lack of depth really begins to show, and Kunstler introduces some unnecessarily strange twists that do nothing to further the plot. Frustratingly, the female characters have absolutely no dimension and very little role in the operation of society--except cooking. In the hands of a better writer this story could have had so much more power.

That said, I'm still interested to read The Long Emergency, and now feel quite motivated to stock my home library with books that will help us live off the land, just in case.
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