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Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age Paperback – 9 Jan 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (9 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716094
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

John Michael Greer is a certified Master Conserver, organic gardener and scholar of ecological history. His widely-cited blog, The Archdruid Report, deals with peak oil. He is the author of The Long Descent and lives in Ashland, Oregon.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anne Patterson on 9 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Michael Greer's the Long Descent is a very valuable addition to the Peak Oil literature. He brings a unique deep historical perspective, combined with an ecological perspective on human societies. He really does present the long view, thinking ahead not just decades but centuries into the future. He analyses the role two powerful narratives have on our view of what is facing us - the myth of progress and the myth of the acopalyse - and makes it clear how both of these are blocking us as individuals and as a society from facing up to the likely future of gradual decline into a post fossil fuel society. The book was published in 2008, before oil hit $147 a barrel and before the financial crash, but is remarkably prescient in predicting both of these as likely occurences. He paints a broad canvas but also gives some useful ideas on how we as individuals can adapt to a post-peak world, including rethinking our current work and if it will be viable in the coming years.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 22 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
As a recovering cornucopian, I consider "The Long Descent" to be one of the best books I've ever read. The author, John Michael Greer, is quite a character and has also penned books on ritual magic, UFOs and monsters. He is currently heading a Neo-Druid group and apparently lives in the Appalachians.

"The Long Descent" is a book about our present ecological crisis. It's one of those rare books that really speak for themselves. It includes chapters on our present predicament, the future decline and fall of modern civilization, what we can do to adapt, and various philosophical issues.

[PEAK OIL]

Greer says surprisingly little about climate change, perhaps because he believes that our situation is dire enough even if we assume that climate change is less dramatic than most scientists predict. The main problem is that modern civilization is unsustainable, being almost entirely dependent on cheap oil, gas, coal and uranium. These non-renewable resources are running out, oil in particular. Greer believes that "peak oil" was reached already around 2005.

During the 1970's, Western civilization did take important steps towards sustainability. These gains were eradicated almost overnight when new oil fields were discovered in Alaska and the North Sea around 1980. By deliberately flooding the markets with new oil, British and American interests made the oil prices crash, effectively forcing all "Green" initiatives into bankruptcy (ironically, nuclear energy was also badly hit by the oil bonanza). After 30 lost years of uncontrolled oil-dependency, peak oil has finally arrived, finding our society more or less unprepared for the consequences.

Greer doesn't believe that oil can be replaced. Coal, gas and uranium are being exploited at a breakneck speed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Madsen on 10 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
A real eye opener that gives the reader a completly new perspective about the future of our civilization. If you think that things can only get better this book is a real wake-up call. A must read for anyone interested in the factors that contribute to the rise and fall of Empires especially the one we are currently living in.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alan Clarke on 2 Sept. 2010
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Brilliant - a very well written description of just how unsustainable our society is, and what we can expect to happen to it. But it isn't all doom and gloom, so despite drawing on the same evidence as other studies of our planet's ecological limits, the conclusion is positive. I found I raced through this book eagerly, and now want to re-read it but need to prise it away form other family members first.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark Hanson on 2 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read several books on both peak oil and global warming I bought this on Amazon UK An was somewhat surprised when the author announced early in the book that he is a Druid. However, that is about the only mention Druidism gets, The book is a very good tour round the need to start preparations for a world less like the past 50 years and more like the past 500. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who thinks western "civilization" will continue and growth is the answer to all our ills. Sadly I do not really expect any politicians to take a blind bit of notice, but readers with children may want to think about the skills and education they pass on to them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By snowzz on 27 Mar. 2012
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A very refreshing middle ground between the apocalyptical "Preppers" and the head-in-the-sand ostriches. For a book that is essentially a hybrid history/economics text book it was a remarkably easy read, and i found myself frequently reading out passages to my husband. If you feel you should be doing something to prepare for the changes in the coming decades, but you have no intention of giving up the easy oil-fuelled life you have right now until you absolutely have to, this book is the one for you.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Jonathon M. Stenner on 26 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I was wary of Greer because of his connection with Druidry - memories of The Wicker Man don't recommend paganism of any hue, however 'enlightened'! Putting aside my reservations, I ploughed in and found page after page which needed to be annotated and stored for later pondering and discussion. His delineation between predicaments and problems was outstanding, prompting me to devise a post peak Jane Austen novel in reverse called Problems and Predicaments where a wealthy British woman has to sell all her goods in order to join a commune of permaculture farmers... The book looks at the spiritual problems of trying to wake people up to the coming decline, namely their thraldom to the myths of progress and science. I have tried to wake up my high school students to peak oil, but all they wanted to do was watch Matilda instead! Greer outlines a very different future to the technological one I grew up with in the early 60s - moon bases, space holidays, underwater cities. Where Greer differs from my own favourite curmudgeon, Jim Kunstler, is his explanation that societies take 250 years to decline and collapse, rather than the 'Road Warrior' vision where the oil runs out and the world turns into a nightmare of looting and Darwinistic struggles for survival. Greer uses the phrase 'catabolic' to describe where we are going - a study of how a society slowly eats itself up in the same way that a long distance runner will actually start to consume his own muscles without replacement nutrients. This catabolic process will be speeded up as we go past the peak of oil production - this may have already happened. What we face is a process of drawn out contraction and decline, where the chronically sick, the elderly, those with special needs, the lazy, the incompetent will be gradually weeded out from the gene pool.Read more ›
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