Walking Away from Empire: A Personal Journey Paperback – Sep 9 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While the news media is fixated on middle class America, the creation of jobs and "renewed economic growth", more people are waking up to the fact that we are but one of many species and that we have stolen more than our fair share from the planet (and even future generations of our species). Guy figured this out earlier than most and was branded as crazy and not realistic. A lonely existence ensues as he makes the choice to not only 'opt out' but to encourage others to see the fallacy of the way our human systems are run and are irreparably broken. It's a Personal Journey simply because he feels quite alone in this thinking. I call it brave.
Brutally honest, this book presents the reader with questions that will be deeply personal. How do we, as a species, survive? How did we get here? Who is to blame (and ultimately, does it matter)?? This isn't supposed to be a 'fun' read - like The Dog Stars is to fiction, Guy's story should make you feel a bit unsettled because it's real.
Guy McPherson shows that the future of life on the planet is threatened by global warming, population over-shoot - in short you can' have infinite growth on a finite planet.
The only hope in this is the rapid and complete collapse of industrial civilisation and return by those who survive the transition to tribalism.
If we are able to continue as before most life on earth could disappear within one generation.
"Optimism is the absense of realism"
As a young man he fought forest fires in Idaho, which led to his love of forestry, nature and wilderness. His writing is funny at times, tragically moving at others. He does not insult the reader's intelligence, so if you're not well read you may find yourself hanging on by a thread to grasp the many allusions and references. Not to worry, this is great stuff easily understood by everyone.
I especially love the humorous story of the Nun and the knife that took place when he was a young fire fighter, around the age of 19.
Here's a comment from a reader of the book that I just saw on Facebook that I feel does it immense justice:
"And so... I finished Guy McPherson's book Walking Away from Empire. I'd like to reflect on it a bit before I write much... but it was a good read, some great pithy quotes. But I got it at noonish yesterday and finished it about two hours ago. It's a lot of angst and information distilled to about 151 proof... and when your done you see why perhaps your friends suggested mixing it with juice.
He explains his hiatus from academic life and his decision to eventually abandon it. I can see why people might be uncomfortable with Guy McPherson, he asks the questions people hesitate to ask, and sometimes states the answers, that no one feels comfortable admitting.
No, the future will not be "business as usual". We can't afford it to be. "
The professor now travels the country giving talks for free, teaching people about climate change, and the very real potential of Near Term Human Extinction this century due to habitat loss. If there is no habitat, there is no food. It's that simple.