An impressive, impassioned call for fundamental change in the way humans interact with their world.

EMBRACING SUFFICIENCY

A former electrical engineer and retired teacher offers a sweeping study of global human consumption.

Stadtmiller (Those We Touch Along the Way, 2017, etc.) considers consumption from a historical perspective, tracing the usage of Earth’s resources from early humans through today. The first half of this illuminating work presents an abbreviated version of the salient points of human history, including the development of tools and weapons, the creation of clothing, the domestication of plants and animals, the exploration of the world, the use of various resources to generate power, the advent of the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of consumerism. The author summarizes key global occurrences of the millennia in largely readable prose, although some sections are dense and a bit too heavy on historical details. Stadtmiller’s engineering background contributes to technical but not uninteresting descriptions of such innovations as the internal combustion engine and manned flight while his overview of advertising, “a major force in many capitalist economies,” demonstrates a keen understanding of marketing techniques and media, in particular the emergence of television and the internet. The second half of the meticulously researched book concentrates more directly on consumption, broadly defined by the author to encompass the use of all of the planet’s resources, including fossil fuels, water, and food. Stadtmiller writes: “Consumption levels of the world’s wealthiest countries…are draining the remaining stockpiles of critical nonrenewable natural resources at untenable rates; the disparities of this consumption are glaring. Twenty percent of the population from the highest income countries consumes 86% of all private consumption.” That startling statistic is but a single example of the compelling facts the author shares to dramatize the impact of modern consumption. Several chapters highlight some of humanity’s most egregious environmental abuses. “The Promise of Polymers,” for example, clearly discusses the relatively recent invention of plastics with particular attention to their toxicity. Stadtmiller knowledgeably writes about the shortcomings of the plastics recycling system and the bodily hazards of BPA. Another engaging chapter addresses the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms, particularly with respect to food production. One of the more eye-opening chapters delves into “Mount Waste-More,” the author’s clever name for the world’s trash crisis: “Globally, garbage waste is accumulating at 2.12 billion tons per year, 555 pounds of garbage each year per each global citizen.” On the positive side, he wisely observes that some American communities are adopting a “completely new concept of a world without garbage” called “Zero-Waste.” Also pertinent are the five profiles (Brazil, India, China, Russia, the United States) provided as examples of energy and environmental usage by individual countries. Stadtmiller’s lucid discussion of a “Nature-Conscious Consumer” reflects a sensible depiction of human accountability. With a rather remarkable eye for detail, he takes a broad view of human consumption, neatly dividing the topic into understandable segments while relating them to the whole. The author employs the occasional meaningful example for illustration and supports the text with a liberal use of carefully chosen statistics.

An impressive, impassioned call for fundamental change in the way humans interact with their world.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7340731-0-2

Page Count: 405

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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