Tacoma Urbanist

Jul. 11, 2012 at 12:32am

My Next Urbanist Book: "Too Much Magic" by James Kunstler

Tacoma's relatively recent visitor James Kunstler has just come out with a new book which I ordered today:


Anyone interested in reading it should buy it and we can have a Feed Tacoma group book discussion at Metronome Coffee. Warning: Kunstler's books are not for the fainthearted. Prepare to have your politically correct ox challenged and possibly gored.

 Here is the description: 

James Howard Kunstler’s critically acclaimed and best-selling The Long Emergency, originally published in 2005, quickly became a grassroots hit, going into nine printings in hardcover. Kunstler’s shocking vision of our post-oil future caught the attention of environmentalists and business leaders alike, and stimulated widespread discussion about our dependence on fossil fuels and our dysfunctional financial and government institutions.

 Kunstler has since been profiled in The New Yorker and invited to speak at TED. In Too Much Magic, Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years and shows us that, in a post-financial-crisis world, his ideas are more relevant than ever. “Too Much Magic” is what Kunstler sees in the bright visions of a future world dreamed up by optimistic souls who believe technology will solve all our problems. Their visions remind him of the flying cars and robot maids that were the dominant images of the future in the 1950s. Kunstler’s image of the future is much more sober. 

With vision, clarity of thought, and a pragmatic worldview, Kunstler argues that the time for magical thinking and hoping for miracles is over, and the time to begin preparing for the long emergency has begun.

Here is a picture I took of Kunstler at lunch at Pacific Grill years ago right before he spoke in Tacoma:


Does anyone read books anymore?

comments [5]  |  posted under tacoma


by Erik on 7/11/2012 @ 12:47am
ReviewPraise for Too Much Magic:

“Kunstler . . . delivers a cold slap to the fantasists who believe technology will save us. . . . A sharp demand to disenthrall ourselves.”—Kirkus Reviews

“With characteristic curmudgeonly enthusiasm, Kunstler brilliantly if belligerently shows us what a pickle we’re in and how inept we are at dealing with it.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Kunstler’s] views are not a popular or welcomed position in America today. . . But his views about the future appear more and more to be being validated by current events. . . . In his new book,Too Much Magic, Kunstler updates his prior writings on Peak Oil stating how Americans’ long-held, ill-conceived belief that new technologies can always conquer our problems is leading us into a period of great denial and subsequent anger. . . . His new book and his prior works are worth the read. Throughout his work, he offers the surprisingly positive idea an energy limited future might well bring about many of the the things the nation at large claims to crave.”—Examiner.com

“Whether your comfort beverage of choice is herbal tea or single malt Scotch, you'd be well advised to lay in a large store before settling down with James Howard Kunstler's disturbing portrait of the U.S.'s impending decline, Too Much Magic. . . . Kunstler methodically skewers what he asserts is the misguided thinking of people like Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near) who reassure us we can somehow craft benign, inexpensive fixes that will permit us to continue in a lifestyle roughly resembling the one we enjoy today. . . . a disturbing picture of the decline of American society, as our current lifestyle collapses in upon itself.”—Shelf Awareness

by Erik on 7/11/2012 @ 1:06am
Order here:


by JMay on 7/11/2012 @ 10:03am
I'm down!

by Jacques T on 8/3/2012 @ 11:06pm
I suggest that you read another book called TOO MUCH MAGIC that came out a year before Kunstler’s book. It is called “TOO MUCH MAGIC: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech" by Jason Benlevi. It has much more original thesis about the digital one percent and the overwhelming influence they will have on our future. www.toomuchmagic.com

by JesseHillFan on 8/4/2012 @ 3:23pm
We are actually destroying Earth's environment through Global Climate Change long before petroleum reserves have become economically unfeasible.Look at the drought in the mid west United States where most of the corn crop this year is ruined.Without food populations will starve.Food will have to be grown locally in viable areas.Some Scientists have concluded that we may be beyond the tipping point to where if no one drove or used motor vehicles and we didn't consume energy from CO2 energy plants the Earth would still heat up over time causing much societal disruption and species extinction.What will have to be done perhaps very soon would be to implement a worldwide forced fuel rationing in which no single human motorist (perhaps emergency vehicle exception) would be allotted say 1 gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel per week as forced rationing to protect the environment.Another method would be just to outlaw motor vehicles altogether.This of course would wreck a over rich unsustainable greedy economy.  

When we look at the city of Tacoma most (almost all) of the homes in the North End are unsustainable as they are huge energy hogs.However my proposition is to have sustainable low energy using micro houses instead of the model of creating an impoverished slave world of have nothing renters.Also suburban homes don't have to be unsustainable either as the land could be useful for growing crops.It's just that the houses are too big for the residents that live in them.When you grow your own food that's an important sustainability issue.