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Falter

Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (239 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"[Oliver Wyman's] skillful, nuanced performance is enough to keep listeners from tossing their earbuds aside in despair.... This isn't easy listening, but it's essential for anyone concerned about humanity's future." (AudioFile Magazine)

2019 Washington Post Best Books of the Year

This program includes a foreword read by the author.

Thirty years ago, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now, he broadens the warning: The entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out.

Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature - issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic - was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: Even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience.

Falter tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben’s experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history - and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away.

Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms to save not only our planet, but also our humanity.

©2019 Bill McKibben (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Oliver Wyman has the difficult task of engaging listeners with this audiobook's grim tidings on climate change and pending social collapse.... Yet his skillful, nuanced performance is enough to keep listeners from tossing their earbuds aside in despair. Wyman spotlights sporadic moments of humor and hope and channels McKibben's withering rage toward the powerful few who suppress climate action in favor of personal wealth. This isn't easy listening, but it's essential for anyone concerned about humanity's future." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tough words for a tough time.

Hard to listen to, occasionally myopic, but overall full of important insights and unique reads on our current moment in history. Tough to get through because of the hard truths of climate change and global capitalism, but that’s part of what makes it so salient.

Bottom line: worth the time of anyone who has the future of our planet and species (or that of the many other species our behavior endangers) in mind.

3 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 07-18-19

Disappointing

The book begins with a large focus on wildfires. I work in forestry and firefighting, and found his writing extremely inaccurate. A big factor in the increase in wildfires has a lot to do with well intentioned management practices that focused on preventing and stopping all wildfire up until the relatively recent understanding of fire ecology. This lead to an unnaturally large density of trees, and a buildup of dead litter that serves as highly combustable fuel. That makes for hotter, harder to control fires. People have increasingly built into natural burn zones, and have not incorporated any fire conscious building or landscaping so we are in more of a position to be impacted by wildfire. McKibben also seems to not understand how wildland firefighting actually works, and how the approach differs from structure firefighting. The western US also goes through periodic megadrought cycles such as the pre-industrial event that ended the Anasazi civilization.

That's not to say that climate change isn't a factor because it is. The problem is McKibben greatly misrepresents this issue. When you consider how much time he devotes to it then it shows laziness at best, or at worst deception. It's hard to trust the rest of the book. Spot checking claims like Australian crop yields being the lowest in the nation's recorded history uncover more complicated explanations. In that case what he doesn't mention is that Australia was settled during an unusually wet period that can't be fairly used in comparison to today. I'd be interested to see what people with experience in other subjects would make of his writing. This only hurts attempts to get people engaged, and it's what's most frustrating of all about this book.

My other complaints are about the style. This really should have been two books, and in the second half it's hard to remember what the thesis of the book was supposed to be. He also spends much of the book repeatedly making random jabs at Trump. Most of the time this isn't a critique of a policy or something he did, just vague snark. This became obnoxiously repetitive, and didn't help him make his point. I think better editing would have avoided these problems.

10 people found this helpful

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  • DK
  • 10-08-19

A Rehash that jumps the shark

By trying to write about everything, McKibben writes about nothing. This isn’t a book about global warming. It starts that way then veers down an absurd, paranoid impossible to sit through rabbit hole of chryogenics and heads being stored in ice chests or brains in the cloud. Maybe that’s our future, but his approach is wack.

His US-narcissism perspective on climate change is also extremely limited.

Couldn’t finish but sat through more than I could stand.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow!

This book makes me want to go back to school and become and environmental scientist! It is terrifying to imagine most of these scenarios play out, thus, it is truly important that we are all made aware of the world around us. Thank you Mr. McKinnen for bring these ideas to the forefront of our conversations. I just hope we act, before it is too late...

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, irritating narration

For some reason this very important book that I must listen too because my eyes have weakened with age has a narrator that just grates on my brain. I beg you to have it redone and I will buy it a second time.

4 people found this helpful

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Love his books, poor reader

I dont like listenin to this reader..he sounds like lecturing uncle..wish it was the author.

4 people found this helpful

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listen to this book

listen to this book. it will make you think deeply about the world were in

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Should be required reading for everyone!

This should be required reading for everyone! (However it might invoke a sense of frustration and angst.)

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Not what I expected<br />

Started with info and thought, went into a political rant. I misunderstood the TV show. that suggested it.

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McKibben's Caasandra dilemma leads into high tech

McKibben continues his excellent forward-thinking on the dangers of our current tech and climate paths.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-24-19

Bill Wyman would have been better

Narration almost ruins the book and completely undermines the expertise behind it. Oliver Wyman is great for fictional stories about hunting monsters but is a terrible choice for real and monstrous non fiction.