Posted by: Ms. Matson | June 26, 2009

World Made by Hand

World Made by Handworld made by hand
James Howard Kunstler
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008

I liked the idea behind the book better than the actual story, but it was good enough for me to finish in two days.  As with other books in the nuclear attack/survival genre, World Made by Hand poses many questions about the sustainability of our society whether we are capable of surviving without twenty-first century conveniences.  We cannot simply go back to life as it was 150 or 200 years ago.  The town in World Made by Hand, Union Grove, is learning how to move forward from tragedy with a blend of modern knowledge and old-fashioned sensibilities.

Kunstler makes pointed attacks  criticism of modern society – the tv has in many ways made us an antisocial society.  With a multitude of entertainment at the flip of a switch, there is no need to engage the neighbors.  Bars and clubs and such today cannot be compared to old-fashioned dances and get-togethers.  Are we destroying, or at least ignoring, the natural world around us with our big-box chain stores accessible from every highway exit?

There is an eerie undertone to the novel; something slightly disturbing.  I would have liked Kunstler to give more explanation about the New Faithers, especially the precious mother business.  There are a couple graphic descriptions that I could have done without, and actually skimmed over once I realized what was happening.  I can’t say that I enjoyed World Made by Hand, nor would I necessarily recommend it, but it is a book that makes for good discussion.


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