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The KunstlerCast: Conversations with James…

The KunstlerCast: Conversations with James Howard Kunstler

by Duncan Crary

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A great read, and wonderful capstone to a great podcast. ( )
  bibliosk8er | Aug 16, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have always found Kunstler to be on the edge of amazing. His writing and talks can come off a little too elitist in the way of telling people what to do. I often shy away from arguments that are heavily urban based, but Kunstler helps to provide a little bridge to gulf the issues.
  KropotkinsLeftFoot | Nov 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I had previously read some of The Long Emergency and I did not finish it because it was too extreme. It seemed to concentrate on rant language as an art form.

In this one the more analytical sections are more useful, shorter, more concise. The autobiographical sections are interesting. But in general it is scattered.

I note that as of today every review here is from the early reviews program. Perhaps the publishers are not getting enough return out of it. ( )
  johnclaydon | Apr 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book of essay or ersatz dialogue takes us into the iconoclastic mind of James Howard Kunstler, a resituated New Yorker. Duncan Crary seems to function as Kunstler's amanuensis. Kunstler is always interesting even when he devolves into something of a rant. I tend to agree with his concern about USA sprawl, whose greates protagonist, Randal O'toole, has written often against public transit.

I am not sure that Kunstler likes large cities and the two authors extol their two small cities near Albany (NY): Troy (where Crary lives) and Saratoga Springs (Kunstler). Small cities do not have the spral of large cities, but don't really have the size for public transportation or the great urban amenities one assoicates with cities like New Yor, Boston, and San Francisco.

Kunstler has a short essay on the effect of Vietnam on American culture that I found quite interesting. He is also very sympathetic to the idea of the New Urbanism, some of which can be seen in Seaside, Florida. He does not like the architecture of Koolhaas or Gehry, but I find these two post-moderns to be fascinating. Kunstler wants to point back to an earlier age, probably pre-modern.

He does want to see a revival of rail transportation, both of the urban variety, which is happening, and the intercity type (Amtrak), which is more stymied. He also want us to look more at water transportation, whose costs and limiting geography work against it, despite their natural charm.

He does a series of city Fly-bys, most of which I found that I agreed wwith. But his distress for Minneapolis seems unwarranted. He does not like the walkways between buildings, even though this cities has lots of minus 0 days and despite a rather active downtown., which he found depressing. ( )
  vpfluke | Mar 29, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book provides an excellent overview of James Kunstler and his work, particularly in connecting his earlier work on suburbs and urban planning with his later work on peak oil and impending economic reduction. The interview method works very well here. It's not used here to interrogate Kunstler, but to draw out and organize his thinking in ways that Duncan's listeners (and readers) can easily consume and digest. It's really a very low key and friendly sort of discussion, which I personally like because it means that the conversations are relaxed and don't feel forced. You get a real sense of what James is like as a person as well as who he is as a thinker. In general I found myself liking him even when I disagree with him. And I do disagree with him on several main points, though probably not the same points most people disagree with him on. And although I think most everyone will disagree with him on something, he offers a lot of food for thought that should challenge the thinking of anyone who approaches this book. I should also say that Duncan Crary has done a very good job editing this work as well as in conducting the interviews, and I appreciate his work here. ( )
  owen1218 | Jan 24, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865716935, Paperback)

James Howard Kunstler has been described as "one of the most outrageous commentators on the American built environment." An outspoken critic of suburban sprawl, Kunstler is often controversial and always provocative. The KunstlerCast is based on the popular weekly podcast of the same name, which features Kunstler in dialogue with author Duncan Crary, offering a personal window into Kunstler's world view.

Presented as a long-form conversational interview, The KunstlerCast revisits and updates all the major ideas contained in Kunstler's body of work, including:
The need to rethink current sources of transportation and energyThe failure of urban planning, architecture, and industrial societyAmerica's plastic, dysfunctional cultureThe reality of Peak OilWhether sitting in the studio, strolling city streets, visiting a suburban mall, or even "happy motoring", Kunstler's grim predictions Kunstler makes about America's prospects are leavened by his signature sharp wit and humor. This book is rounded out by commentary, footnotes, and supplemental vignettes told from the perspective of an "embedded" reporter on the Kunstler beat.

Readers may or may not agree with the more dystopian of Kunstler's visions. Regardless, The KunstlerCast is bound to inspire a great deal of thought, laugher, and, hopefully, action.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:36 -0400)

Written as a long-form conversational interview, this title explores urban planning, architecture, transportation, energy, society and culture from the perspective of an 'embedded' reporter on the Kunstler beat.

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