A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
I wondered if people might recommend books that have helped them understand the issues that the Dark Mountain Project is concerned with. Or books that embody that 'uncivilised' quality that Paul and Dougald have been talking about. I've just finished reading this:
Clive Hamilton's newly published book 'Requiem for a Species: Why we resist the truth about climate change'. Anyone interested in what's going on here MUST read it. It's a ruthless but compassionate account of the historical circumstances that have led us here; the political, economic and psychological forces at play in the present moment; what the likely outcomes are going to be; and how we cope with that reality. "Despair, Accept, Act", he says. "These are the three stages we must pass through."
Interestingly - on a sidenote - his references reveal that a joke he quotes as an example of the role humour will play in coming to terms with our situation has its provenance in the comments section of the 17th Aug 2009 Kingsnorth v Monbiot debate on the Guardian website - from someone calling themselves 'bloggerdave'. This was the 'Basingstoke on a saturday night' gag that George used himself on stage at the festival.
No one's mentioned Derrick Jensen? A Culture Of Make Believe and the End Game series are what really got me thinking about where we're collectively heading as a culture. My best friend who isn't a big non-fiction reader himself is hooked on A Culture Of Make Believe right now and he can't put it down, it's just floored him. Eric Fromm's A Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, John Livingston's Rouge Primate, Entropy by Jeremy Rifkin, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright are other books that had a huge influence on my worldview.
My blog does review one Jensen book. I didn't want to post 50 pages of book reviews here. The following books are reviewed at my blog:
Anderson, M. Kat, Tending the Wild — Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2005.
Axtell, James, The European and the Indian, Oxford University Press, New York, 1981.
Cohen, Mark Nathan, Health & the Rise of Civilization, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1989. For additional information on health in civilized societies, Man and Epidemics by Charles Edward Amory Winslow (1952) is excellent. Laurie Garrett contemplated future health risks in The Coming Plague (1994).
Epic of Gilgamesh, Penguin Books, New York, 1972.
Freuchen, Peter, Book of the Eskimos, World Publishing Company, Cleveland, 1961.
Jensen, Derrick, A Language Older Than Words, Context Books, New York, 2000. Jensen has written a long series of books on our dysfunctional relationship with the living planet. A number of essays and interviews are provided at: www.derrickjensen.org.
Keith, Lierre, The Vegetarian Myth — Food, Justice, and Sustainability, Flashpoint Press, Crescent City, California, 2009.
King, Franklin Hiram, Farmers of Forty Centuries — Or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, Jonathan Cape Limited, London, 1911. The full contents of this book can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg.
Kunstler, James Howard, The Long Emergency — Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2005.
Liedloff, Jean, The Continuum Concept — In Search of Happiness Lost, Addison-Wesley, New York, 1977.
Lopez, Barry, Of Wolves and Men, Scribner Classics, New York, 2004.
Manning, Richard, Against the Grain — How Agriculture has Hijacked Civilization, North Point Press, New York, 2004.
Manning, Richard, One Round River — The Curse of Gold and the Fight for the Big Blackfoot, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1997.
Mannning, Richard, Rewilding the West — Restoration in a Prairie Landscape, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2009.
Margolin, Malcolm, The Ohlone Way, Heyday Books, Berkeley, 1978.
Marsh, George Perkins. Man and Nature. Charles Scribner, New York, 1864. The full contents of this book are available online at: http://books.google.com/ Marsh didn’t have a camera, but in 1938-39 Dr. W. C. Lowdermilk visited similar regions and came to similar conclusions — and he had a camera. He created a booklet titled Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years. It’s available at: http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/Lowd/Lowd2.html
Nerburn, Kent, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, New World Library, Novato, California, 1994.
Pollan, Michael, The Omnivores Dilemma, Penguin Press, New York, 2006.
Quinn, Daniel, Ishmael, Bantam Books, New York, 1992.
Ryan, Christopher and Jethá, Cacilda, Sex at Dawn — The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, Harper Collins, New York, 2010.
Shepard, Paul, Nature and Madness, University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia, 1998. Warning! This book is written for gray-haired professors, not a general audience. Nature and Madness is the opposite of easy to read.
Shepard, Paul, The Others — How Animals Made Us Human, Island Press, Washington, 1996.
Smith, Joseph Russell, Tree Crops — A Permanent Agriculture, Island Press, Covelo, California, 1987.
Stanton, William, The Rapid Growth of Human Populations 1750-2000, Multi-Science Publishing Company, Brentwood, United Kingdom, 2003.
Thomas, Keith, Man and the Natural World, Pantheon Books, New York, 1983.
Turnbull, Colin M., The Human Cycle, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1983.
I would have to say Six Degrees by Mark Lynas and the Lovelock books, Revenge of Gaia and Vanishing Face of Gaia in terms of getting an idea of the scale of the oncoming crisis. In terms of a critique of the current Paradigm, John Zerzan is excellent.
I've always been suspicious of Western Civilizations role in the world. Nothing brought it home as well as Edward Abbey's Monkeywrench Gang. Since reading that, I've collected his other works, plus works by Dave Foreman, Rod Coronado and Christopher Manes. Also, and I wish I had run across this thread earlier, I would recommend Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
Were you hoping to get a solid list started? I can help with that if you like. After I get some sleep of course.