This is perhaps the most frightening book I have ever read -- oops, I mean "listened to".
With only a few minor slips, the author provides an incredibly well-documented review of the confluence of three disturbing factors in the current United States: (1) a growing dependence on foreign oil that may hit peak production very soon; (2) the convergence of the "religious right" with the Republican party and the associated moves to legislate "traditional morality"; and (3) the skyrocketing levels of personal and government debt, increasingly held by the central banks of countries that may not have the USA's best interests in mind.
The style is mostly matter-of-fact and academic, with a correspondingly high number of references to both history and commentary. In a few places the author lets slip some unfounded assertions that reveal his emotional involvement in the material, but given the importance of the topic, a bit of emotional involvement is not necessarily a bad thing.
Of course one can never tell how objective another person is being with the data that they have access to, but this book comes across as an honest, sober and sobering comparison of the current political/economic/religious path of the US in comparison with the declining periods of several previous global economic and military hegemonies.
Although I found the subject matter of this book interesting and appealing, it was Pollan's use of language that kept me coming back to listen more. It has been a long time since I have been exposed to such charming and lyrical prose -- a perfect accompaniment to the author's love of the subject. Or perhaps I should say "subjects" -- the choice of apple, tulip, cannabis, and potato provide a multidimensional view of human-plant interaction (and Pollan's passion for the topic) that would not be easily expressible in a more conventionally focused format.
Two green thumbs up!
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