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The Party's Over

Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies

by Richard Heinberg

New Society Publishers, June 2005, Paperback, $17.95

In The Party's Over, Richard Heinberg places the transition from oil to alternative energy sources in historical context, showing how industrialism arose from the harnessing of fossil fuels, how competition to control access to oil shaped the geopolitics of the 20th century, and how contention for dwindling energy resources in the 21st century will lead to resource wars in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South America. He describes the likely impacts of oil depletion, and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the U.S.—the world's foremost oil consumer—is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing, Heinberg recommends a "managed collapse" that might make way for a slower-paced, low-energy, sustainable society in the future.

Praise for The Party's Over

"The Party's Over begins with a commanding review of world history, where past and current developments including war, empire, and population growth are interpreted as functions of cheap or increasingly scarce and expensive energy. The discussion of substitutes for fast-depleting fossil fuels, and the formidable impediments to making the transition that would allow industrial civilization to continue, are important to every investor and citizen." — Virginia Deane Abernethy, Ph.D., author of Population Politics

Table of Contents of The Party's Over

1. Energy, Nature, and Society
Energy and Earth: The Rules of the Game
Energy in Ecosystems: Eating and Being Eaten
Social Leveraging Strategies: How to Gain an Energy Subsidy
Complexity and Collapse: Societies in Energy Deficit
Applied Socio-Ecohistory: Explaining the American Success Story
2. Party Time: The Historic Interval of Cheap, Abundant Energy
Energy in Medieval Europe
The Coal Revolution
The Petroleum Miracle, Part I
Electrifying the World
The Petroleum Miracle, Part II
Oil, Geopolitics, and the Global Economy: 1950-1980
1980-2001: Lost Opportunities and the Prelude to Catastrophe
3. Lights Out: Approaching the Historic Interval's End
The Ground Giving Way
M. King Hubbert: Energy Visionary
Hubbert's Legacy
Hubbert's Critics: The Cornucopian Argument
Who Is Right? Why Does It Matter?
4. Non-Petroleum Energy Sources: Can the Party continue?
Natural Gas
Nuclear Power
Solar Power
Tides and Waves
Biomass, Biodiesel, and Ethanol
Fusion, Cold Fusion, and Free-Energy Devices
Conservation: Efficiency and Curtailment
5. A Banquet of Consequences
The Economy - Physical and Financial Transportation
Food and Agriculture
Heating and Cooling
The Environment
Public Health
Information Storage, Processing, and Transmission
National Politics and Social Movements
The Geopolitics of Energy-Resource Competition
Taking It All In
6. Managing the Collapse: Strategies and Recommendations
You, Your Home, and Your Family
Your Community
The Nation
The World
A Final Word

About Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg, from Santa Rosa, California, has been writing about energy resources issues and the dynamics of cultural change for many years. A member of the core faculty at New College of California, he is an award-winning author of three previous books. His Museletter was nominated for its "Best Alternative Newsletter" award by Utne Reader in 1993.

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