A coherent, well-written challenge to the status quo that guides readers who want to stop and reverse the effects of climate...

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The Schizophrenic Society

LOST IN A MAKE-BELIEVE WORLD WHILE WE DESTROY THE REAL ONE

A wide-ranging indictment of modern society and its lack of sustainability.

In this book on climate change and the future, Boyd (Energy and the Financial System, 2013) draws on philosophers from Plato to Foucault as well as scientific research to indict modern society for its inability to plan for a sustainable future. He also offers suggestions for overcoming inertia, apathy, and active resistance to achieve a world that will survive. In clear, measured language, Boyd contends that one of the primary drivers of civilization’s problems, along with inequality and resistance to change, is shortsightedness, as in the acceptance of post–World War II economic gains: “Many mistook this fleeting phenomenon, created by a certain set of circumstances combined with cheap energy, for a long-term trend.” He goes on to point out this pattern of humanity’s shortsightedness in the context of weather patterns, industrial agriculture, and financial behavior. Boyd faults contemporary societies for failing to take a long-term view of their infrastructures, citing the conversion of working waterfront districts into housing in New York, London, and Toronto as a trend whose consequences will be felt as transportation costs increase. The book devotes a chapter to debunking myths propagated by those who do not see climate change as a dire threat, and he challenges the science behind the international goals for carbon emissions and temperature change in a thoroughly footnoted section. Boyd’s conclusion is summed up in one of his subtitles: “Any Version of ‘Business As Usual’ Is Not Tenable.” Instead, he recommends that readers accept that continuing growth and development are neither possible nor desirable: “Once the necessity for a no-growth/de-growth society is accepted, the ways in which society must change start to become apparent,” with many of those ways involving a shift from globalization to strong connections within local communities. An extensive notes section adds support to Boyd’s persuasive arguments that demonstrate the need for change in order to ensure that humans have a future.

A coherent, well-written challenge to the status quo that guides readers who want to stop and reverse the effects of climate change.

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-5059-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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