“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

An Obnoxious Individual You Should Read.

Don't confuse this guy with William Kunstler, the left wing lawyer from the 1960's.

This fellow is a professor and author.  If you saw  Prophets of Doom on the History Channel, he was one of the five individuals they interviewed for the program.

Kunstler is a social scientist.  He's abrasive, opinionated,  condescending and hypocritical.  He's also extemely intelligent, insightful, and a good writer.  You have to hold your nose and take the medicine when you read him.




His first book, The Long Emergency  explains his conception of modern life today, and why it can't be sustained.  His work is a carefully researched, well thought out analysis of current trends in our society. Having looked at how things are going in the present, he makes an educated guess at what the future holds for us.

Kunstler is comparable to Jared Diamond, who wrote Collapse.  Diamond is a frequent contributor to Science Channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic as well as the two History Channels. Diamond's book was made into a two hour History Channel production, which gives you some idea of the caliber of his work.  Kunstler is right up there alongside him.  Reading the Long Emergency will give substance to some of those vague concerns we all have.  You'll find out that the "great pulsating brains" of the Ivy Halls have drawn some of the same conclusions you have about what's coming down the pike before very much longer.




  After he wrote The Long Emergency, Kunstler went on to publish a fiction novel  based on the first book.   World Made By Hand  has become a sort of cult classic, not only for the survivalist and prepper community but for a lot of the off shoots of those philosophies.
   It follows the lives of some of the occupants of a small town after the collapse Kunstler believes is inevitable and coming soon. I thought he did a good job with his characters, and his plot line. It has some odd quirks  you won't find in Shatter, The Pulse, Deep Winter or any of the other post apocalyptic fiction most of us have on the shelf, but that doesn't detract at all from the book.
  When you read The Long Emergency you'll notice that the author is no fan of Southern Culture. He thinks Southerners are boorish, violent people with such low interests as, dare I say it, NASCAR.  Yet in World Made By Hand, the two groups who prove the most resilient and practical are a migrating band of Southerners and veterans.  The very traits that Kunstler looks down on from a philosophical aspect are what make these people so viable and important in the chaos of the collapse.


The Witch of Hebron is the sequel to  World Made By Hand.  It's a good book as well, and follows the same people through the traumatic and turbulent times that engulf their little town.

Overall, these three books will give you some insight into what may transpire in our immediate future. They're informative and entertaining.  All three are available from Amazon as either print books or Kindle editions.

18 comments:

  1. Harry, since you mentioned the TV show, "Jericho" a few posts back, I went hunting and found that it is still shown on CBS.com

    I know some prefer to buy the series on DVD, but I'm sure there are some who who would rather not spend the money on it. The whole series can currently be had on Amazon for around $35.

    I had watched most of the episodes but had forgotten some of the detail and I've realized now that I outright missed some episodes.

    It's a good show why they killed it is beyond me. There is still a big calling for CBS to renew the series.

    I guess I need to do get these books you mentioned.

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    1. Matt, I bought the DVD's a long time ago, when they first came out. It's good to know it's on the net because I am pretty sure the DVD's are no longer available. Jericho was a good program. It had very good ratings, yet was cancelled at the end of the first season. There was such an uproar among viewers that it was brought back for an attenuated second season. CBS was inundated with cans and jars of nuts people sent to protest ending the show. That related to a scene where the town leader replied to a demand for surrender with "nuts" , a hat tip to Bastogne I guess.

      The books are worthwhile. They are all available in digital format cheap, or in hard back for a little more.

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  2. I truly enjoyed, 'World Mady by Hand,' but like you I do not like its author for the very reasons you mentioned. We dumb dirtbag ignorant Southerners have given more culture to this country than all the ivy league buttholes in New England. Having said that, I will read the sequel. Thanks.

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    1. I don't know what Kunstler has against Southerners but he certainly hammers us in "The Long Emergency." Then turns around and portrays his Southern characters as people who take care of business while his town residents wring their hands and bewail cruel fate. Who knows? Maybe he sees us as his Goths to his New England Romans?

      The sequel is good but not as good as the first book.

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  3. Harry i have copies of all 3 and agree very good reads.As far as his yankee snobbish remarks i think its social envy.Most of his story falls back to life of the mountain folks of kentucky tenn.and the carolinas.Foxfire 1-5 are a must if you think about what the long emergancy predicts

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    1. Gary, I have the firefox books but haven't sat down and read them through. I need to do that.

      One of the things I've learned to do is just pick and choose what I want out of a movie, or book, or magazine. The rest of it, like the sarcasm and condescension Kunstler directs at us in the first book, is just water off a ducks back to me.

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  4. It seems to be just the New England Asshat mentality. Many people disagree with me but I always felt Billy Fortchen was as bad as Kunstler when it came to hating on Southerners or Rural folk in general.

    As for Jericho. Season one rocked. Season two went the way of all the post apocalyptic TV shows. Starts off interesting ends up with nukes, helicopters and large scale modern military conflicts. Almost like after a few months to a year everything is back to normal.

    The one quality that redeems "The Walking Dead" so far is they really haven't done that although they keep leaving that option open. That old Showtime series Jeremiah was good until they went total military as well and of course the current show "Revolution" got it's helicopters in the second season too.

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    1. I bought Jeremiah on DVD long after the show was off, and I agree with you. The first season was great, but then it went as you said, and lost it's character.

      Jericho season two was CBS trying to get the Hoi Poloi off their backs so they could dump a series that emphasized things the network did not want to portray in a positive light.

      Revolution had potential but by the end of the last season I was just taping it and watching it when I didn't have anything else to do.

      I try not to rain too hard on New Englanders because some of them are good people but , in general, you do often find this self righteous , snooty nose in the air aura around them. I gather they have always been that way, though.

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  5. I have THE LONG EMERGENCY, but not the others - I'll give them a look. For my money, ONE SECOND AFTER by William Fortshun has been the most sobering read I can remember.

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  6. I haven't read any of those but they do sound intriguing.

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    1. Lisa, they are good books. The Long Emergency is not "entertaining" but reading it, you find yourself thinking that the author has things pretty well pegged as far as life today goes. The corollary is that he may well be just as right about the immediate future. The two novels based on his research are quite riveting, I had a hard time putting them down.

      There is a series of books for young reader that are pretty good. They aren't by the same author but they are oriented towards kids. A lot of the really unpleasant things that can happen in a long term catastrophic situation have been toned down for young readers. I'll see if I cant' find them on the shelf here somewhere and do a post. I know your children are all too young for this stuff but they do grow up fast, or it might be something you could read to them.

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  7. Anon, One Second After is an excellent book. It was the first book I read that really made me give consideration to an EMP event. I thought his treatment of the aftermath and how his local community changed as a result was pretty accurate. Depressing, but accurate. Once there are no consequences for anti-social behavior, a certain percentage of the population is going to prey on the rest. In the case of One Second After it was particularly horrific. A good read, though, and well founded in fact.

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  8. World Made by Hand is one of those books that makes an impression on you. I think it's a pretty accurate portrait of what will come to be, if we're lucky. It could be much worse.

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    1. It did make an impression on me, as you say. Particular when taken in conjunction with his first book. I can see myself out digging up the old dump looking for screws and bottles, I'd probably be good at it!

      It certainly could turn out to be worse. World Made By Hand at least posits some level of socialization continuing on. I'm not entirely sure that would really be the case, since "towns" would draw the Golden Horde, or remnants there of, and that would be the end of the town.

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    2. I think some level of socialization would continue in places. Unfortunately the authors choice of the Hudson Valley is surrounded by very densely populated areas so I doubt it would fair well in a real emergency.

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    3. As I recall the author has some kind of connection to that area, maybe he grew up there. The closer to major population centers you are, the worse you will do when the balloon goes up. You're certainly right about that.

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  9. I read World Made By Hand first and really enjoyed it. Then again the arguably pie in the sky New England elitist came out in a few places. The part about the Southerners was a bit much; didn't offend me but then again I am not from the South.

    Witch of Heubron was odd and didn't really seem to fit the series. Between the boy bandit, the witch/hooker/herbalist and the various magical stuff it was a bit much. Maybe somebody had a balloon payment due or a contractual obligation and needed to come up with something fast.

    Had high expectations for The Long Emergency but got very little out of it. Long on problem and very short on solution.

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  10. That's ok, you can be offended on my behalf. He annoys me but not enough to pass on his books. Witch of Hebron was very strange. There were some odd things in the first book, too. I am not sure why he put those in there but I just kind of read on through it.

    I liked The Long Emergency because it took a lot of ideas from different sources and put them in a logical stream of thought I could follow. I often think there are not any solutions for a lot of our problems today. We create situations that are just going to play out to their bitter end. Kind of like starting a snowball rolling down hill.

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