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World Made by Hand [Paperback]

James Howard Kunstler
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Jan 2009
In the best-seller The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. With World Made By Hand Kunstler makes an imaginative leap into the future, a few decades hence, and shows us what life may be like after these coming catastrophes—the end of oil, climate change, global pandemics, and resource wars—converge. For the townspeople of Union Grove, New York, the future is not what they thought it would be.  Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy. And the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. As the heat of summer intensifies, the residents struggle with the new way of life in a world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers replenished with fish. A captivating, utterly realistic novel, World Made by Hand takes speculative fiction beyond the apocalypse and shows what happens when life gets extremely local.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (29 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802144012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802144010
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 864,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read. Pleased to see there's a sequel. 16 May 2011
This is NOT a post-apocalyptic novel, as suggested by other reviewers, so if that's what you're looking for, you'll need to keep looking. Road Warrior it is not.

However, it does tell the story of an America (and only an America, the rest of the world seems to have been unaffected) dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th century by two pretty small nukes and the Mexican flu. Yes, the country has changed irrevocably, and large numbers of people died, but apocalyptic? Not by the actual definition of the word, no.

To me, it presented a fairly feasible possible future when the oil finally runs out, but you need to be clear; this is the story of one very isolated little hamlet of New York state. The community experiences nothing like the violence you could expect from the good old human race when left to their own devices though there are perfectly believable allusions to it in other areas. Corruption is rife, though, and that provides part of the plot. It's basically a story about how one very, very small community deals with various, sometimes dire, situations presented by other, local, very, very small communities. But, I think that's the point; globalisation (along with electricity, tyres, cars, junk food, the TV dinner) is gone. Their world has suddenly shrunk to about 80 miles in any direction. This is the story of that new small world.

It has a bit of an underwhelming ending where a few events were not adequately explained and which leaves a few characters wide open for further development, but that's not a bad thing because I like the characters and the way of life they've created. I'm actually quite keen to read the next one as I'd like to see how they're all getting on.

One thing it has made me want to do is learn a new skill. I work in I.T. which has to be the number one, post-oil superfluous industry (a fact to which the protagonist can painfully attest). Maybe I'll order a book on carpentry when I get the sequel, today.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy - but is it? 1 April 2008
A great story, told well & vividly. I enjoyed it greatly. Kunstler must have had fun writing it. Good guys get to vanquish the bad guys AND our hero gets the girl. Every old hippy's fantasy as we look into the impending apocalypse. But its still a good read & thought provoking too. More convincing than some of the hard hitting non fiction books on peak oil etc.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deathly dull 6 Sep 2009
Mind-numbingly dull story of everyday folk.

There's nothing remarkable, new, or worthwhile in this tedious story. The setting of a post-economic-collapse USA may as well be any time in the 1800s, and any place on the planet, as the only references to the collapse are a few throwaway lines - so if the post-apolacypse genre is your thing, this certainly ain't it!
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