Books: World Made By Hand


World Made By Hand

I am a big fan of Jim Kunstler’s work. I listen to the KunstlerCast every week, I loved his TED talk, and I read his weekly rant every Monday.

I like his work not necessarily because I agree with all, or even most of what he says, but because I love his bombastic “the whole world’s fucked up, and it’s all your fault” rhetorical style.

World Made By Hand is a piece of fiction set in the post-apocalyptic, post-peak-oil world of upstate New York.

The beginning of the book is almost all setting. The plot seems to function merely to move the characters around the town so the reader can observe how each of Jim’s predictions for the collapse of civilization have come true.

The setting is dire, even in comparison to Kunstler’s own predictions in his other work. People ride around on horses because there is no way to make bicycle tires without petroleum. All levels of government have ceased to function. A plague has decimated the population, and Nuclear explosions have destroyed Washington D.C and L.A.

After this tedious bit of exposition, the story picks up pretty quickly. There is a murder, a kidnapping, a jailbreak, and all sorts of high adventure and brigandry on the Hudson River.

Even in the midst of this nightmarish scenario, you get the impression that Kunstler thinks this is in some ways a better world than the one we have now. People talk to their neighbors. The townsfolk do things together, and get out of their living rooms, since there’s no TV to watch.

I really do not think the near future looks very much like Amish Wonderland Kunstler describes, at least not along the same timeline (around 2025, by my reckoning). Nevertheless, it’s a fun story in an interesting setting, and I look forward to the sequel(s).

I give World Made By Hand 4 Jihadis out of 5

4 Jihadis out of 5

You can read a sample chapter at

There’s even a video trailer.

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