The nationally best-selling author of The Long Emergency expands on his alarming argument that our oil-addicted, technology-dependent society is on the brink of collapse—that the long emergency has already begun...

Too Much Magic

By James Howard Kunstler

“Kunstler plainly has a lot to say about the state of the world. And while much of it is bad—aggressively, congenitally, perhaps even fatally bad— he speaks with such vim and vigor that you find yourself nodding in agreement rather than looking for a noose.”

—Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of
Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics
on The KunstlerCast

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 become a key commentator on the future, profiled in The New Yorker and invited to speak at TED and other events. 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 overly 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 idea of the future is much more sober: he analyzes the various technologies (vertical farms, fracking, corn ethanol) suggested as overnight solutions to the energy crisis and finds none that he thinks will work long-term to cure a society dependent on gas-guzzling cars, in love with an inefficient ideal of suburbia, and unwilling to fundamentally change its high-energy lifestyle. Kunstler also offers concrete ideas as to how we can help ourselves adjust to a society where the oil tap is running dry.

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

Too Much Magic book jacket. Right click to download high resolution.

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Listen to James Howard Kunstler read from Too Much Magic

Click the play buttons or the .mp3 links.

Interview: JHK Discusses Too Much Magic (16:32 Mins.)

"Kingdom Come" Chapter 1 pp, 19 – 22 (5:20 Mins.)

"The Futility of Party Politics in The Long Emergency" Chapter 5 pp. 85–86 (2:32 Mins.)

"Social Relations and the Dilemmas of Difference" Chapter 9 pp. 216 -221 (7:14 Mins.)

"The Multicultural Dilemma" Chapter 9 pp. 237 -239 (4:16 Mins.)

"A Systematic Misunderstanding of Reality" Coda pp. 241 -243 (4:24 Mins.)

These recordings first aired on The KunstlerCast, a weekly podcast featuring James Howard Kunstler.