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The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies [Kindle Edition]

Richard Heinberg
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The world is about to run out of cheap oil and change dramatically. Within the next few years, global production will peak. Thereafter, even if industrial societies begin to switch to alternative energy sources, they will have less net energy each year to do all the work essential to the survival of complex societies. We are entering a new era, as different from the industrial era as the latter was from medieval times.

In The Party’s Over, Richard Heinberg places this momentous transition in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the twentieth century and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the twenty-first century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the United States—the world’s foremost oil consumer—is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, he also recommends a “managed collapse” that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.

More readable than other accounts of this issue, with fuller discussion of the context, social implications and recommendations for personal, community, national and global action, Heinberg’s updated book is a riveting wake-up call for human-kind as the oil era winds down, and a critical tool for understanding and influencing current US foreign policy.

Product Description


‘If societies a century from now have managed to learn how to live sustainably, it may be at least partly because the advice in this timely book was heeded.’ -- Thom Hartmann, author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

‘The Party’s Over is the book we need to reorient ourselves for a realistic future.’ -- Chellis Glendinning, Ph.D., author of When Technology Wounds

Chellis Glendinning, Ph.D., author of When Technology Wounds

‘The Party’s Over is the book we need to reorient ourselves for a realistic future.’

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1211 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0865715297
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; 2nd edition (1 Jun. 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FPZ3DK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #353,296 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 6 July 2003
Great book. Heinberg boils down many complex issues into clear concise explanations. His analysis of the likely knock-on effects of oil depletion on general economic activity and agriculture is chilling.
Heinberg longs for action to adjust our energy needs to be taken now. It is not really clear how much hope he has for this. Surely, the reality is the political system will only react when the trend is clearly in place and causing significant economic pain. In the last section of the book 'Managing the Collapse', Heinberg seems to avoid the fact that history shows people will respond according to narrow self-interests. He could maybe have included more detail on the projected growth in energy needs of Indian & China (who have their eyes on a Western lifestyle with subsequent energy needs) and the likely tensions this is likely to cause with the West.
Of course, the track record of people making predictions with apocalyptic themes is poor. I recall reading how people in the 19th Century expected the World to go dark when whale oil ran out. For all our sakes, I just hope Heinberg (& associated energy forecasters) have missed something in their analysis. If not, we could have our Easter Island.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brace! Brace! Brace! 16 Aug. 2004
Never mind the chances of an asteroid impact or sea levels rising in 200 years time, super volcanoes or books of cryptic religious texts. This really is the book you should read. Rooted in hard science and physical facts, we really are about to enter a man made catastrophe. Unless you live in a mud hut, gathering root vegetables and hunting wildebeest you will be affected by the up and coming energy crisis.
What is this impending energy catastrophe? It is the inability of the world to provide enough raw oil, (a finite resource) to sustain the year on year (exponential) growth of our economies and population, (an infinite goal). The crisis will affect what you eat, how you travel, the costs of all raw materials and products made from them, employment, the value of money, perhaps even the value of life itself. It will certainly change the way you live sooner rather than later.
With decent historical analysis of former civilisations which failed due to resource issues and why our civilisations have so far escaped such failures, Richard Heinberg paints a colourful yet familiar picture of our current reliance upon finite resources and oil. With some oil history, evaluation of likely supplies and demands upon it, and a debate on contrary views; a reasoned and balanced argument it formed. But few would find the Heinberg's conclusions difficult to reject, and most will find them hard to swallow.
A review of alternative energy technologies and how we might measure the benefit of any particular fuel might leave you wondering what we can do about the problem. And unlike many publications prophesising doom, it does give some potential answers and perhaps even a little hope.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent broad overview of peak oil 22 Sept. 2008
There are many books on the subject of peak oil with authors coming from different perspectives. Some come from people who work or have worked in the oil industry (like petroleum geologists Colin Campbell or Kenneth Deffeyss) while others are in journalism like David Strahan (author of the excellent 'Last Oil Shock').

Heinberg's background is social anthropology and this book reflects that. What's good about this book is that it takes a really wide view on the subject. It describes the basic laws of energy in physics (1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics) and looks at energy use through mankinds evolution. It also has a great history of oils use during the twentieth century including the previous oil shocks, the way General Motors and co stripped US cities of there train systems and much more. It has section on the effects of peak oil from food production to economics.

The writing is packed full of facts but is clear and easy to understand. The chapters are divided up logically and you don't have to be read them in any particular order.

More than any other book I've read on the subject this is the book I most go back to. Even though it's a few years old now the fact it takes this wide overview means it's unlikely to go out of date any time soon.

If you want to learn about the most important and disturbing subject of our times this book is great place to start.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading 4 Oct. 2005
A book that stops you in our tracks to think of the consequences of our actions. Very well reasoned and researched to give a rounded view of our future without oil. Quite mind blowing to me that the peak of production could come within a year from now!
I would hope that this could become a standard work for all schools and colleges in the vague hope that the young could get through to our bone headed leaders (political,industrial, community etc etc) who are heading us for an almighty crash. It is too late for the adult population (particularly in the USA)to let go of their gluttony for oil.
If political will cannot be changed popular will must for the sake of our children, grand-children and the whole future of our species.
How we will one day mourn the loss of basic and essential skills that could enable us to survive.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everyone should read this book.
Published 4 months ago by Moonraker
4.0 out of 5 stars Not read it yet
But did not see anything in the index relating to fracking, so if there are any doomsday figures in it they may need adjusting.
Published 14 months ago by Lingus
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for every conscientious human
This book is a clear, readable, informative and enlightening account of the ever-timely global energy challenges,such as the depletion of cheap fossil resources and the continuous... Read more
Published 20 months ago by V.Malamos
5.0 out of 5 stars Dismiss this book at humanities peril!!
Read this book if you are at all concerned about the fragile state of diminishing resources and humanities fate in the next 50 years due to energy resource depletion (in particular... Read more
Published on 6 July 2012 by stevegg
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptionally good read
This book is perfect for anyone looking to make themselves more informed about the issue of oil, its effects on fundamental aspects of human life, as well as the state of society... Read more
Published on 4 May 2012 by Erik Cummins
4.0 out of 5 stars The Partys Over: Oil, War and the fate of Industrial Societies
A good book which left me with plenty to think about. It also made me look at my own society (England) with different eyes. Read more
Published on 20 May 2011 by C. Yearwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Alife changing read!
My son is studying Transport design in University. A discussion with one of his tutors made him aware of Peak Oil. The rest is history as they say. Read more
Published on 13 Feb. 2011 by Christopher Jeffrey Dawber
1.0 out of 5 stars Also found this alarmist
Very much written in a 'panic' tone. This books makes out as if oil is just going to suddenly stop flowing completely and 'we are all going to die'. Read more
Published on 6 Sept. 2010 by Fosta
4.0 out of 5 stars Party's Over
Heinberg gives a very good background to energy transitions from wood right through to the latest alternatives. Read more
Published on 1 Aug. 2010 by Bermuda
2.0 out of 5 stars Alarmist.
There is mounting evidence of a decline in oil production. This obviously creates a need for new energy production, and production methods. Read more
Published on 27 Mar. 2010 by Morten Pedersen
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