The Long Emergency

The Long Emergency

Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century

Book - 2005
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Baker & Taylor
In an apocalyptic vision of a post-oil future, the author details the economic, political, and social changes of an unimaginable scale that can be expected after the tipping point of global peak oil production is passed.

Book News
The world is about to leave the relatively happy era of abundant cheap oil and enter into a long emergency in which peaking oil production will interact with other looming environmental and economic difficulties to effectively bring an end to civilization as currently constituted, argues Kunstler (a former editor at Rolling Stone). After describing the likely depletion of oil production in the very near future, he considers how it will interact with oil-driven geopolitics and attempts to burst any bubbles about the possibility of switching the economy to alternative fuels. He then considers looming environmental issues of climate change, epidemic disease, water scarcity, and habitat destruction, as well as the "entropic mess that our economy has become," as part and parcel of the story of the development of oil-based industrialism and its coming end. After describing the chilling political, social, and economic consequences of the end of oil-based industrialism, he considers how Americans should react to the coming disaster, arguing that life will have to become more intensely local, that the economy will have to be structured around food production, that land will have to be reallocated in terms of purpose and ownership (involving the dismantling of suburbia), and people may have to cope with the regional breakup of the United States. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Blackwell North Amer
American people are sleepwalking into a future of hardship and turbulence. James Howard Kunstler, one of our shrewdest and most engaging social commentators, tells what to expect when we pass the tipping point of global peak oil production and enter the long arc of depletion - economic, political, and social changes on an epochal scale - sooner than we think.
The Long Emergency will change everything. Globalism will wither. Life will become profoundly and intensely local. The consumer economy will be a strange memory. Suburbia - considered a birthright and a reality by millions of Americans - will become untenable. We will struggle to feed ourselves. We may exhaust and bankrupt ourselves in the effort to prop up the unsustainable. And finally, the United States may not hold together as a nation. We are entering an uncharted territory of history.
The Long Emergency is a startling vision of what lies ahead, bringing new urgency and accessibility to the critical issues that will shape our future, and which we can no longer afford to ignore.

& Taylor

In an apocalyptic vision of a post-oil future, the author of The Geography of Nowhere details the economic, political, and social changes of an unimaginable scale that can be expected after the tipping point of global peak oil production is passed. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2005]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9780871138880
Branch Call Number: 303.4973 K96
Characteristics: vii, 307 pages ; 24 cm


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bellreads Nov 26, 2014

The world is NOT going to run out of oil any time soon, though we may run out of cheap oil. Alternate energy sources (solar, wind, tidal power…) although expensive, will be harnessed then. Meantime there's oil aplenty in the Middle East, in the U.S. oil shales and Canada's oil sands.

May 09, 2012

I found the book very useful in terms of the subject which is resource depletion. It set me on a mission to find out more about it. I generally liked the author's writing style. Overall, I found it to be quite a good book.

Nov 09, 2011

I was interested in this based on one of the author's novels. I rejected it when the the author went on a screed about Islam that was utterly and unbelievably puerile (somewhere in the first third of the book). As a naturalist, I am no defender of religion, but neither can I tolerate ignorance. Since, to that point in the book, the author had added nothing new to my knowledge of peak oil or anything else, I put it down.

This book is not worth reading.


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