Al Gore’s 2009 book proves an ideal fit for an iPad app, one of the best that we’ve seen.
Gore has been at the forefront of global environmental issues for the last 20 years. His An Inconvenient Truth (2007) famously warned that we are all in for big trouble if we continue our gas-guzzling, resource-squandering, overpopulating ways. Four years later, he seems right on the mark, even if deniers and critics have twitted Gore for living a tad unsustainably himself. Our Choice is less dire: Now that we’ve made our bed, Gore seeks a way to help us unmake it, announcing in a book-opening video that we are indeed in a crisis, but that this, like so many other crises, can be solved if good thinking is put to work. But there’s a lot of unsustainability to undo for that to happen. As the author provocatively notes in a chapter devoted to politics, “The United States is still borrowing from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.” Fully leveraging the possibilities of multimedia, this app weds Gore’s original text to his video and audio narratives, his voice warm and engaging, a far cry from the much-lampooned stiff speechifying of old. Still photographs, many of which unfold, and graphs and charts round out the illustrations. So rich is the text, in fact, that, depending on bandwidth, it can take many hours for the app to download—so best to have the iPad plugged in. The package as a whole repays thorough exploration. The only demerit is a lack of hyperlinking, joining Gore’s text to the mountain of supporting information that is available elsewhere on the Internet, all hinted at in the extensive back-of-book sources.
A model for translating books to the small screen (iPhone as well as iPad), and at a bargain price.