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JHK’s lost classic now reprinted as an e-book
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Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation

The nationally best-selling author of “The Long Emergency” expands on his alarming argument that our oil-addicted, technology-dependent society is on the brink of collapse—that the long emergency has already begun. Published by the Atlantic Monthly Press in July 2012. “Followers of Kunstler’s writings and attendees of his many lecture appearances will recognize the take-no-prisoners style, more »

The nationally best-selling author of The Long Emergency expands on his alarming argument that our oil-addicted, technology-dependent society is on the brink of collapse—that the long emergency has already begun…

“Kunstler plainly has a lot to say about the state of the world. And while much of it is bad—aggressively, congenitally, perhaps even fatally bad— he speaks with such vim and vigor that you find yourself nodding in agreement rather than looking for a noose.”
—Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics on The KunstlerCast

TooMuchMagicJacket300dpi-1James Howard Kunstler’s critically acclaimed and best-selling “The Long Emergency,” originally published in 2005, quickly became a grassroots hit, going into nine printings in hardcover. Kunstler’s shocking vision of our post-oil future caught the attention of environmentalists and business leaders alike, and stimulated widespread discussion about our dependence on fossil fuels and our dysfunctional financial and government institutions. Kunstler has since become a key commentator on the future, profiled in THE NEW YORKER and invited to speak atTED and other events. In “Too Much Magic,” Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years and shows us that in a post-financial-crisis world, his ideas are more relevant than ever.

“Too Much Magic” is what Kunstler sees in the bright visions of a future world dreamed up by overly optimistic souls who believe technology will solve all our problems. Their visions remind him of the flying cars and robot maids that were the dominant images of the future in the 1950s. Kunstler’s idea of the future is much more sober: he analyzes the various technologies (vertical farms, fracking, corn ethanol) suggested as overnight solutions to the energy crisis and finds none that he thinks will work long-term to cure a society dependent on gas-guzzling cars, in love with an inefficient ideal of suburbia, and unwilling to fundamentally change its high-energy lifestyle. Kunstler also offers concrete ideas as to how we can help ourselves adjust to a society where the oil tap is running dry.

With vision, clarity of thought, and a pragmatic worldview, Kunstler argues that the time for magical thinking and hoping for miracles is over and that the time to begin preparing for the long emergency has begun.

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Listen to James Howard Kunstler read from Too Much Magic


Click the play buttons or the .mp3 links.

Interview: JHK Discusses Too Much Magic (16:32 Mins.)


“Kingdom Come” Chapter 1 pp, 19 – 22 (5:20 Mins.)


“The Futility of Party Politics in The Long Emergency” Chapter 5 pp. 85–86 (2:32 Mins.)


“Social Relations and the Dilemmas of Difference” Chapter 9 pp. 216 -221 (7:14 Mins.)


“The Multicultural Dilemma” Chapter 9 pp. 237 -239 (4:16 Mins.)


“A Systematic Misunderstanding of Reality” Coda pp. 241 -243 (4:24 Mins.)



These recordings first aired on THE KUNSTLERCAST, a weekly podcast featuring James Howard Kunstler.

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.


  1. Parental Kindness - Mindful Ecology - August 24, 2016

    […] The epidemic of stressed out parents churning out infantile adults is threatening to remove our ability to reason about reality all together. Magical incantations will not save us from the consequences of our ecological ignorance, complicity with destructive groups, seduction by charismatic leaders or remove the corruption of our institutions and social arrangements. Too much of what passes for public life is little more than the rage of the frustrated child refusing to accept the limitations inherent in our being human. (Remember the crucifixion image?) This leaves us, collectively and individually, prone to any con that comes along promising  to magically make everything better. As  Kunstler has it, there is indeed Too Much Magic. […]