An invigorating, thought-provoking plan to address climate change.



A systematic approach to reversing catastrophic climate change.

In an interesting narrative gambit, physicist and engineer Fiekowsky, who writes his nonfiction debut with Douglis, invites readers to imagine the future of Earth under what current-day climate specialists routinely refer to as the best-case scenario: Humanity comes together to bring the world’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. As Fiekowsky points out, this would still result in a nightmare world of barren (and menacingly rising) oceans and many millions of “climate refugees” fleeing their native countries—because even if carbon-zero initiatives succeed, they’ll only halt carbon emissions at what are already historically high, lethal levels. “Will humanity long survive on a planet where the climate patterns that all living things have relied on for 12,000 years have been permanently changed; where the last of the large fish and wild animals are on a path to extinction; and where human activity has taken over nearly all the land needed for diverse ecosystems?” Regardless of whether such survival is possible, Fiekowsky has an alternate solution: replace “climate action” with “climate restoration,” which has as its goal the reduction of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere to preindustrial levels. The author discusses tactics like using “marine permaculture” (vast seaweed farms), shunting CO2 to the infinite sink of the oceans, and something he calls enhanced atmospheric methane oxidation, which would involve “dispersing a very fine mist (aerosol) of iron chloride into the lower atmosphere to augment what forms naturally over the ocean.”

Fiekowsky covers fundamental issues involved in climate health, including global overpopulation, and in all cases, he matches his remediation suggestions with practical strategies for implementation. That last point underscores how effective and galvanizing this book is: Fiekowsky isn’t suggesting idle, unworkable fairy tales of restoring ecological balance. In brisk chapters supported by wide-ranging research, this work details not only the theoretical validity of the steps proposed, but also their workability. He doesn’t overstress one of the more subtle contentions, which is that humans seeking to restore climate health would be aided by the planet itself. In answer to why he’s so confident in climate restoration, the author says: “ ‘It’s been done before.’ Nature has removed massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere 10 times in the last million years, and likely many more times before then.” True, projects like enhanced atmospheric methane oxidation (EAMO) may strike even some fanatic climate warriors as far-fetched and unlikely. And although the author is unquestionably correct about the disastrous effects human overpopulation has on the world, his suggestions for “population restoration” will likewise jar some readers who are convinced a healthy climate is impossible with current population levels. But the book’s prevailing tone of energetic optimism ultimately carries the day; readers of climate change classics like The Uninhabitable Earth(2019) by David Wallace-Wells will find these calls to specific, doable action intensely refreshing. The cause is not hopeless, Fiekowsky says; the world can still be saved.

An invigorating, thought-provoking plan to address climate change.

Pub Date: April 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-953943-10-1

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Rivertowns Books

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2022

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.


Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.


A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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