Lyrical Anthropological Examination That Needs Better Scientific Documentation. When Rawlence is describing the people and peoples he is traveling to and among, he has such a lyrical quality to his prose here that it really is quite beautiful – these are the best parts of this book. However, Rawlence is also quite the pessimist about human action and survival, going on at one point to proclaim that Earth would be better off without humanity. While this is not an unheard of proposition, fantastical claims like that require substantial documentation – and documentation is what this text sorely lacks, clocking in at barely 10% of the overall text (25-30% being more “normal”, and I’ve read books making far less fantastical claims clocking in north of 40% documentation). Ultimately, your opinion of the book is likely going to depend on whether you agree with Rawlence’s politics and philosophies, though, again, the writing when he is *not* speaking to these really is quite beautiful. Still, even in what he does present and even with the lack of documentation, this is a book that needs to be read by most anyone speaking to any level of climate science, as he does bring up some truly valid points here and there. Recommended.
DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO MARCUS SAKEY IS??? Ok, so this was a fun rib at a fellow author that Parks tossed into this book, and if you’re in the know, it was genuinely hilarious. I don’t know if Parks and Sakey know each other or have any kind of relationship at all, but it was hilarious regardless. And great levity in an otherwise pretty heavy tale that asks the classic trolley problem in a much more personal and yet global context: If you knew that one singular person was going to be the thing that ultimately tips global warming beyond repair and that billions of lives would thus be lost, could you kill that person? What if that person was your wife? Through the first 2/3 of this book, this is the primary driver and raises a lot of thought provoking questions, as Sakey’s own books tend to do. The back third goes more to direct action tale (as the back parts of Sakey’s own books tend to do), but the interesting connection here given the ribbing is that there are elements that *could* tie this tale to Sakey’s own Brilliance Saga. Whether this was the intent, this reader has no clue. But again, an interesting thought experiment. Ultimately this is a fun mystery/ action tale that mostly sticks to the realistic – even the exact scenario of the finality of global warming is plausible given the facts recorded in After Cooling by Eric Dean Wilson, which releases just weeks before this book itself does. If you’re looking for *purely* mindless action, eh, there are other books better suited to that. If you like “action with a brain”… this is going to be *exactly* what you’re looking for. Very much recommended.
Interesting History Marred By Marxist Politics And Alarmist Propaganda. In the description of this book, it is claimed that we will get a look at history, science, road trip, and philosophy as it relates to Freon and its history. Well, the philosophy is avowed Marxism (even quoting Marx directly to begin one of the sections) and the “science” is mostly alarmist “Global Cooling” / “Global Warming” / “Climate Change” junk wherein he cites in part some of the very studies that Stephen Koonin’s Unsettled – released just weeks earlier – shows to be problematic at best. And unlike Wilson, Koonin is an actual climate scientist, one who worked at a high level under Barack Obama, no less. Instead, Wilson outright declares that it is the stuff of nightmares to think that any form of warming is natural, that man *must* be the cause of *all* warming and that we *must* thus be able to stop it.
These factors noted – and seriously, if you can’t stomach a fatal dose of Marxist ideology, don’t bother reading this book – the history presented here, even while presented fully rooted in anti-white, anti-capitalist screed form, is actually interesting and worthy of discovery by those who may not be aware of it, such as myself when going into this book. The road trip episodes that frame each section are interesting in and of themselves, as Wilson tags along with a friend who is buying up stockpiles of Freon American Pickers style in order to destroy them to claim the carbon credits under California’s Cap and Trade system.
There is a compelling story to tell in the need for better ways to cool and comfort, and there are promising techs and strategies that don’t rely on Marxism and government mandate to achieve them. Unfortunately this book ignores all of this.
Finally, the citations and bibliography… are minimal, for such fantastical claims, accounting for barely 15% of the text, and are rarely directly cited within the narrative itself.
It is because of all of these factors that I am quite comfortable with the 2* – without the history and road trip, it would have been half even that – and would be lower than even that, were such possible on review sites. Not recommended.