Gwynne Dyer, 2008
Random House Canada
Under a Green Sky
Peter D. Ward PhD, 2007
Harper Collins Publishers Inc., N.Y.
Much of Earth's life has been spent with a green sky of hydrogen sulfide and a purple soup of bacteria over the seas. We are forcing the climate toward that direction now. In Bill Cosby's skit on Noah, he complains about building an Ark. God replies, "How long can you tread water?" The question arising now would be, How long can you breathe hydrogen sulfide?
Evolution and the End of Man
Michael Boulter, 2002
Fourth Estate, London
A Division of Harper Collins
Michael Boulter is Professor of Palaeobiology at University of East London, Secretary and Editor for the International Organization of Palaeobiology and head of a team analysing Fossil Record 2.
From page 176:
"Since Nevil Shute's novel about a nuclear holocaust, On the Beach, written in the 1950s, there have been countless tales of the end of man on this planet. Now, it seems, the joke is that we are doing very well on our own, just with our use of fossil fuels. There is no need for nuclear weapons or the inventions of science fiction writers. It is our own aggressive selfishness that has led to our lifestyle, and this has evolved its own political system to maintain the status quo. Now it's too late to change and we cannot organize ourselves to stop. I speculate that our system is in free fall, out of control."
I would like to point out that many of these authors often refer to the selfishness of the human species. Obviously they have enjoyed their cloistered existence in academia, and have never raised pigs or sheep. Then they would appreciate the utter selfishness of every form of life. The problem with the world today, is that humans have acquired the tools and skills to wreak havoc far beyond their capacity to understand the consequences of their actions.
Waking Up to the Century of Declines
Richard Heinberg, 2007
New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, B.C.
Remember, this book was written in early 2007:
From page 171:
"But there was never broad public discussion of the real issue that will impact our lives in the next few years - the generation that grew up expecting always more will soon be faced with less. The nation, now hallucinating uncontrollably from toxic exposure to Fox News, is in debt to the point that no conceivable decision made today will prevent a devastating implosion of the US economy, especially in view of the impending oil and gas peaks."
"It may seem cynical to some if I say that it is too late to save America's political system, its economy, its suburban way of life; that it is even to late to contemplate an easy and peaceful transition to a different socio-ecological reality. But as far as I can tell, these are the facts. That possibility probably died in 1980. As they say these days, get over it."
"We Boomers have stolen much from the future generations; the main question remaining is, can we now give them back at least the possibility that they might build the world we once dreamed of?"
From page 26:
"We have enjoyed an unprecedented party, but the privilege of having a place at this greatest banquet in history implies an enormous responsibility to future generations."
From page 8:
"The only real question is whether societies will contract and simplify intelligently or in an uncontrolled, chaotic fashion."
The End of the Line
How Overfishing is Changing the World and What We Eat
Charles Clover, 2006
The New Press, New York, London
Charles Clover has been environment editor for the Daily Telegraph for 18 years.
This is the ultimate book on how humans have destroyed the biodiversity of the oceans, with no end in sight, just continue plundering, exhaust an entire species, then move on to the remaining ones. Actually, the same process that humans have applied to the land, the rivers and the atmosphere.
The Global Ocean in Crisis
Alanna Mitchell, 2009
McClelland and Stewart, Toronto
This book makes a fatal research error in not having noticed these extremely important books on this exact topic: Under a Green Sky and The End of the Line. The author picked this topic, therefore she should do the appropriate research. Perhaps just too much time was spend jetting around the world on at least a dozen junkets to hob-nob with ocean researchers in person, rather than by a more environmentally sensitive means. It's a rather shallow book, but if it gets her social class on board with recognizing the threat to the ocean (which means a threat to all life on the planet), then just maybe it was all worth it.
On page 137, referring to the work of Boris Worm (a German researcher):
"Worm takes the synoptic view. It took humans roughly 50,000 years to deplete the planet's large land animals, 5000 years to exhaust most of the planet's coastal environments, 500 years to fish out the continental shelf, 50 years to impoverish the open ocean and about 5 years to run through the creatures of the deep ocean.
`We don't realise how absolutely exceptional this time is. We are reaching the carrying capacity of the planet's natural resources,' he says, adding `We are at the stage of losing the ability of things to come back on their own.' He pauses, then says carefully, looking me straight in the eyes, `That would represent a threshold.'"
With Speed and Violence
Why scientists fear tipping points in climate change
Fred Pearce, 2007
Beacon Press, Boston
A MUST READ!
Cities, Climate Change and Politics as Usual
Clive Doucet, 2007
New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, B.C.
This is possibly the most important book on civilization since The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon in 1909.
Mr. Doucet describes, among other things, how we lost the civil war of the 1960's. He says that the answers to the climate change problem lie in correcting the deficiencies in the political systems. He says: "I am astonished that Al Gore, who understands climate change as well as anyone, at the end of his film talks about changing light bulbs and driving smaller cars in order to combat climate change. He didn't have one recommendation to address the democratic deficit which caused the theft of his own run for the presidency and resulted in the most ecologically destructive American administration ever to plague the planet."
When Rivers Run Dry
Journeys into the heart of the world's water crisis. Fred Pearce, 2006
Key Porter Books Ltd.
Think that "modern agriculture" can keep providing more and more food for an increasing population? Try again - many rivers no longer flow to their deltas, irrigation systems are failing, soils are being water-logged and salinated and crop production is failing, due to massive misuse of water worldwide. Yet planners contemplate further dams and hydrological megaprojects, resulting in the ruination of more and more rivers and ecosystems. When will they ever learn?
The Crusade to Deny Global Warming
James Hoggan with Richard Littlemore, 2009
Greystone Books, D&M Publishers, Inc. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley
Herein the Denier Industry is dragged into full public view, and it is an ugly, writhing, wretched creature conceived by Big Business. This is a must-read for anyone trying to figure out why the media appears to be biased towards the Deniers, and what you can do about this terrible situation, before our little spaceship Earth crashes. The author only lets you down once, by attributing acts of green to two environmental criminals (Gordon Campbell of BC and the "Governator" of CA).
One with Nineveh
Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future
Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich 2004
Island Press / Shearwater Books
Suite 300, 1718 Connecticut Ave S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
October 2009 - I just read this book, and five years have gone by since it was published, and six since it was written, and unfortunately, not the tiniest bit of progress has been made on any of the issues raised in this book, which mirrors (but predates) everything that is on my web page on environmental issues. Day by day more of this planet is being destroyed by humans yet "we" do not even begin the discussion about what to do. This book clearly states the problems and the remedies needed, a complete change of course in human behaviour and governance, before it is too late. This is a must-read, you cannot find the direction for the rest of your life until you have read it. One slight weakness to this work is the couching of too many arguments in terms of nature's "instrumental value" (the value of what nature can provide for "us") and less emphasis on the intrinsic value (the value of nature for its own sake, see page 280) perhaps because the authors are primarily addressing the leagues of climate-change deniers. However, the outlook of the whole book is that earth's life systems have value on their own as a functioning system and that if we don't alter our collision course with nature then the entire global civilization will be lost. Remember that this book was written six years ago and not one word of public discussion on these topics has yet occurred.
The Dominant Animal
Human Evolution and the Environment
Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, 2008
Island Press / Shearwater Books
Suite 300, 1718 Connecticut Ave S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Keywords: genes, human origins, cultural development, Darwin, population, climate change, conservation, energy, disease.
The authors ask the big question, on page 364: "Will the first truly global civilization collapse just as past regional ones have?"
What is humanity going to do to solve the many dilemmas facing it, from progressively destabilising the ecosystems that support us, to income inequities on a grand scale, to poverty, greed, over consumption, consumerism, wars, shortages of water and food, and general rape of the planets "resources" and use of the atmosphere, land and oceans as garbage dumps? This book has to become the guidebook for our future and it has to be in the hands of and on the tops of the minds of our "leaders" at all times. Every day that goes by and the questions brought forward in this book are not addressed, is another lost day in our seemingly willing crash between humanity and nature.
Down to the Wire:
Confronting Climate Collapse
David W. Orr, 2009
Oxford University Press, Inc.
198 Madison Ave., New York 10016
This book is essential reading on how our abysmal systems of governance are too out-of-date to accomplish the tasks which lie before us. Are they also too cumbersome and entrenched to actually be changed? It seems that the author is still thinking pie-in-the-sky regarding the role of government by failing to see that governments operate exactly like any other gang - they are just a legal form of organized crime, maintaining a monopoly on the use of violence and extortion. Governments do not represent the "public", they represent themselves and operate as the enforcement arm of big business. More pie-in-the-sky with his "council of elders" to advise the President, Congress etc., on long-term matters of climate and such matters. There should be no president or congress - what is needed immediately if not sooner, is a single unit of governance for the entire planet, with all "national" and local governing entities made obsolete in terms of any notion of sovereignty. Can we forgive the author for eschewing cognitive dissonance while simultaneously dismissing "heroic technology" but embracing wind and solar power; and talking about the reality of an eventual world population of one billion or less but dreaming of a Pleasantville-type future for Oberlin, Ohio?
In one chapter, the author does an exercise that he has used with his students, presenting an hypothetical trial of the human race by all the other animals, and the defence lawyer representing humans has to present evidence showing why humans should be spared from being kicked off the planet. The author doesn't really present a compelling argument as to why humans should be spared, but I can suggest a few: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and, for instance, the ability (a trait not often employed by humans) to perform rational ecological management such as managing a pasture for the good of the grasses rather than the pleasure of the grazers or the greed of the farmer. Humans have the ability to do what is right for this planet, but almost always succumb to greed and immediate gratification.
But, excellent reading nonetheless, with great emphasis on impressing upon you the severity of the situation that humanity faces. Not only is this book essential reading, but everyone interested in the wellbeing of their offspring should purchase a copy and be sure it is passed forward to each new generation for the next 1000 years (assume humanity survives) so that future generations can understand how this mess came about and how to avoid repeating it - and be sure that each generation learns to read!
The Violent Twighlight of Oil
Peter Maass, 2009
Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, New York.
While you stand there with your hand on the nozzle filling your gas-guzzler, give a thought to where the other end of that hose leads to - past the refinery, past the bulk oil carrier, to the other end of the pipeline. This book will help you understand the grief that this whole process causes along the way. The end of the pipeline in Equatorial Guinea is not in place to facilitate exports, it is YOUR industrial tentacle set down in that part of the world to suck the life out of that country. While this book is not intended to be a history of oil, it does touch on some important recent historical events regarding oil, and I don't think any of them will make any western nation proud. For example, the book explains why the "Fall of the Soviet Union" occurred. It was not Democracy's superiority over Communism; it was a much simpler power play. In 1985, Ronald Reagan had a talk with Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, CIA Director William Casey had the same talk with King Fahd, to get the Saudi's to drop the price of oil, from $30 in 1985 to $12 in 1986. This simple action cost the Soviet treasury $20 billion per year and blew the legs out from under their economy. Such is the effect of oil on both the rich and the poor around the world.
How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
Barbara Ehrenreich, 2009
Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, New York
Two of the reviewer's quotes on the back jacket cover really sum up the situation which keeps Americans from getting involved while their democracy withers away at their feet. Alan Wolfe says "Barbara Ehrenreich's skeptical common sense is just what we need to penetrate the cloying fog that passes for happiness in America." And Frederick Crews: "Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil: please read this relentlessly sensible book. It's never too late to begin thinking clearly."
Many of the authors listed above have shown that it is human's inability to perceive changes that occur over a long period of time which plays an important part in the human predicament. The other side of that same coin is this penchant for immediate satisfaction (happiness) which is the central issue in this book.
I would suggest reading the last chapter first then the whole book start to finish so that you have an idea of how important this subject is as soon as possible. While Soviet and other authoritarian states have forced optimism on the population by law and censorship, sending those "spreading defeatism" into Stalinist camps, in western society the individual is coerced into putting his own mind into that shiny little box or be ostracized or lose a job. At stake in the spread of "Positive Thinking" is the loss of the ability to see things as they are and our survival as individuals and as a species. So, read this book, snap out of your self-hypnotism, and get involved!
Living in the End Times
Slavoj Zizek, ©2010
Verso, New Left Books, New York and London
The premise for this book sums up our entire life's struggle, individually and for life itself:
"Our struggle is not against actual corrupt individuals, but against those in power in general, against their authority, against the global order and the ideological mystification which sustains it." (Ephesians 6:12, in today's language, by Slavoj Zizek, in Living in the End Times, page xv).
Death of the Liberal Class
Chris Hedges, 2010
Alfred A. Knopf, Canada
In USA by Nation Books, Perseus Books Group, N.Y.
Here is a book that will peel away those protective layers that you have built up like a babushka to protect that tiny core of self deep within you, and expose you unprotected to reality. It is like a horror movie, but you can't leave after two hours - you are IN the movie!
The book describes the miserable history of manipulation of the media, the destruction of unions and other progressive movements, and outlines the path that people should follow - of empathy, supporting in every case the downtrodden, the importance of moral autonomy and the benefits of rebellion vs. revolution. This is your handbook for the coming age.
TERRACIDE (Mal de terre)
By Hubert Reeves, English translation by Donald Winkler ©2009
Mal de terre ©2004 by Editions du Seuil
Cormorant Books Inc. © 2009
This book gives a clear and concise synopsis of our present situation and the outcomes that we may expect given a variety of courses that we might select from this point in time. Doing nothing leaves us with one of three possibilities, none of which will support human life - a desert planet or a planet reduced to holding only the simplest forms of life or the full-scale Venus effect. Our choice for continuing human life involves stopping the temperature increase, which is detailed in the book through our energy choices and conservation of all resources. All aspects of our situation are covered, including ice ages and temperate periods, effects of global warming, the ozone hole, atmospheric pollution, energy use including nuclear energy, resource depletion, renewable energy sources, water availability and pollution problems, pesticide usage, overfishing, the massacre of our forests, GMOs, a soiled planet - contaminated by anti-personnel mines and chemical, biological and nuclear warfare agents, industrial waste, plastic waste and the pollution of space, and social aspects such as care and extinctions of animals, human poverty and the environment, the expanding rich/poor gap; poverty, violence and terrorism, and what we can do about these matters. Be sure to read all the end notes, they contain many important points from research articles.
Hubert Reeves is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France.
Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity
James Hansen, ©2009
Bloomsbury USA, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Generally, people are somewhat aware of the flow of news in the "news cycle" - how a story can start out as "breaking news" then fade away as a new round of top stories floods over it. Some news stories have more endurance, such as the Gulf oil blowout which keeps hanging around on the inner pages of the newspaper. Imagine a story so important, that it was on the front pages for a very long time. Can you imagine a news item with such staying power? Perhaps only an alien invasion could attain such endurance in the media. But the story being told in Dr. James Hansen's book is as critical to human survival as would be an alien invasion. Yet this book was published in the last months of 2009 and there has not been a peep about it in the corporatist-controlled media. The suppression of this story goes back to the reasons for the recent so-called recession. This "recession" was created by the financial elite simply by moving all available funds from mortgage-backed securities to private equity firms to invest in overseas agriculture, since food is the next big "play", and the two equally weighted reasons for bringing the "economy" onto the front pages were: to get people's minds focused on their jobs rather than the environment which was getting far too much media play in 2007-2008, and to finish the work of making the North American countries into Business Colonies. In this way, Big Business has kept people's minds focused on economic matters so that there would be no backlash for the Copenhagen climate summit failure, and no concern that the G8 and G20 meetings did not even mention environmental matters. However, the situation being described in Dr. Hansen's book should be at the top of the newscast every day, and it or closely related topics should command 80% of the newscast, FOR THE NEXT 200 YEARS. Yes, that much time, to get the concepts into people's thick heads, to get some REAL action to take place, and over that long duration, to be certain that nobody ever again tries to burn all the "fossil" fuels anywhere on this planet. Not one word about the news cycle is mentioned in Dr. Hansen's book, except that he begs people to get involved - I have included these remarks to impress on you the importance of what he has written.
The seriousness of the situation is laid out in his first paragraph of the Preface:
"Planet Earth, creation, the world in which civilization developed, the world with climate patterns that we know and stable shorelines, is in imminent peril. The urgency of the situation crystallized only in the past few years. We now have clear evidence of the crisis, provided by increasingly detailed information about how Earth responded to perturbing forces during its history (very sensitively, with some lag caused by the inertia of massive oceans) and by observations of changes that are beginning to occur around the globe in response to ongoing climate change. The startling conclusion is that continued exploitation of all fossil fuels on Earth threatens not only the other millions of species on the planet but also the survival of humanity itself - and the timetable is shorter than we thought."
There have been "life without us" scenarios written in recent years, and these were plausible as late as the 1970's, but we have now gone too far with an exponentially increasing level of ecosystem destruction since those days. The climate trigger has been pulled and even if all people disappeared tomorrow, the earth's systems of inertia would continue on their present trajectory toward the huge warming that will come. It will be very difficult for the other species to survive. Earth has a built-in time bomb in the form of seabed methane hydrates. Anyone who tries to warm this planet WILL SURELY DIE. Paleoclimate studies, which have added a lot of detailed information in just the past several years, show that warming has always preceded a CO2 increase in the atmosphere by a couple hundred years or so. But to you this doesn't make sense, since you have been told that our CO2 emissions are causing global warming, and they are causing global warming. But our CO2 emission is only the small one, not the BIG one which will follow the warming that we have initiated. Our CO2 emission is just the trigger, and it will cause some level of warming and most of that is going into the oceans. The cold winter in the east was just the normal fluctuation of the arctic oscillation, not an indication that global warming is nonsense. Here is a condensed version of the scenario described in Dr. Hansen's book: There is very little multi-year ice remaining in the arctic, and the ongoing warming will cause a lot of ice loss in Greenland and the Antarctic ice shelves. This iceberg activity will cause some localized cooling from the effect of all that ice in the water, but the overall warming continues in the lower latitudes. The difference in temperatures between these regions of the planet will drive the "Storms" part of the book's title. As well, the melting ice reduces the salinity of the sea water, which will diminish the sinking of water in the North Atlantic. The last observation that I had was that there is only one feeble downward whirlpool remaining there. Same is happening in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. When these sources of cold salty water slow down, then the problem begins, because the next heaviest water is in the central Pacific, it gets salty (thus heavier) from evaporation, and the result is WARM water sinking to the ocean floor, with devastating effects on the huge masses of methane hydrates on the ocean floor which have been building up over the last 50 million years. The hydrates time bomb is now fully loaded and capable of the same level of destruction as happened in the end-Permian extinction in which 90% of life was wiped out. This is the toy we are playing with here, a vast and incredibly stupid uncontrolled experiment with no possible good outcome. And yet, the busivernment (I have to try to make a new word here, which shows the fusion between business and government, the two entities which endure unlike us mortals, with business calling the shots and government doing their enforcement work) fully plans to burn every last "fossil" fuel they can get their hands on, and extract every last mineral deposit, and catch every last fish, and dam every last river, ruin every last river delta, pull every last drop of water out of every well, etc., until they actually hit some physical barrier that they can't push out of their way with big machines. That simply is how Capitalism works.
So what are the remedies - is there a way out of this predicament? Professor Frank Fenner of Australia states:
"Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years. A lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off."
Think about that last sentence - "they keep putting it off" - while you go about your daily routine enhanced with the cheap energy provided by liquid fuels and you might realize why the World doesn't want to hear this message. But something has to be done to avoid the complete collapse of civilization and all other life. Dr. Hansen gives some options. He is adamant that all remaining coal be left in the ground - not just for now - but forever. To that end, all industrialized countries must be completely off the use of coal by 2020, and all other countries by 2030. As well, all the unconventional oil sources such as the Alberta and Orinoco tar sands and the oil shales and gas shales (as in northeast B.C.) must be left in the ground. Forever. But what to do about energy?
Hold on and steady yourself, because this is going to hurt - he sees one big source as being nuclear. But not the normal nuclear that you are used to at Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. He is talking about fast-neutron reactors also called 4th generation reactors or "breeder" reactors. They are very different from the present 2nd and proposed 3rd (not much better) generation reactors, but research into the fast-neutron technology was killed by the Clinton-Gore administration. These 4th generation reactors would be cooled by liquid sodium, which has a huge liquid range and does not corrode the tubing like hot water and steam do, and they use fuel differently so that they can clean up the present stockpiles of nuclear waste. To make fuel for the present thermal reactors (which just produce heat) and weapons, a huge quantity of uranium hexafluoride has been produced and stored away - six hundred thousand tons in the US - there is enough of this waste plus spent fuel rods from thermal reactors to produce power in the 4th generation reactors for 1000 years. The thermal water-cooled reactors use only about 1% of the uranium fuel, and leave a huge mass of waste which must be stored for over 10,000 years. A fast-neutron reactor's waste cannot be used to make weapons, it is not loaded with transuranic actinides, therefore it becomes inconsequential in a couple hundred years. Therefore Dr. Hansen suggests that this system has to be seriously considered as an option. But I would only accept that option as long as the electricity produced was used for basic needs such as refrigeration and essential home lighting and not for wastes such as street lighting, air conditioning in hot climates and mining, and if and only if a major attempt is undertaken to reduce the human population by about 85%, especially in the "rich" countries with their excessive consumption habits. However, as it is pointed out in the book reviewed above (Terracide) a breeder reactor had already been built and failed on St. Clair Island near Detroit, permanently ruining what was a good picnic site, and the French version (Phénix) will take 2.4 billion Euro's to dismantle. As well, the second greatest mistake in human history, the alternating current electrical distribution system, should be changed back to DC (direct current) so that local storage can be used to offset peak loads.
Why are "we" not acting on these things? Why is this book just taking up space on library shelves? Where is the political leadership to secure an actual future for humanity and the rest of Life on this planet? As Dr. Hansen shows, one of the main hangups is moneyed interests pulling the strings behind the scenes in politics. Somehow this connection between big money (Business, in other words) and government must be broken if civilization and the planet are going to survive the inevitable. If that money connection can be broken, then there remains the monumental job for our leadership to bring the problems of population/consumption down to the level of each person's understanding of the errors of their lifestyle that the older generations have pounded into their heads over the years and realize that virtually everything you have been taught was a mistake. As well, there is people's fondness for history - they go all mushy when they see historical buildings such as Parliament Hill, when instead, I think they should be taking on the big job of removing all human artefacts from the Great Lakes watershed.
Dr. Hansen concludes his discussion by talking about the Venus Syndrome, in which runaway heating of the planet ends with Earth in the same condition as Venus. He states categorically that if we burn all the coal, tar sands and oil and gas shales, the Venus effect is a certainty.
You all really need to read this book, or better, buy a copy and read it many times, there is so much in it to absorb. Then, while you go about your daily routines abstracted from and artificially elevated above the drudgery of actual subsistence labour by the luxury of liquid fuels, at least give a thought to the ecological destruction you cause with every turn of the ignition key and every instance of idling at a traffic light, and give a thought to how you might change your life after giving up the addiction to cheap energy. Slavery still exists, in the form of energy slaves - machines running on liquid fuels, doing the work for you, at an equivalent human labour rate of about 30 cents per hour. Also, remember that every other news story that you hear is simply a diversion, to distract you from the real problem laid out before us in this book and remember that everything that you see in your glorious cities is a chimera at best or at the worst an open-air prison and is NOT what this planet looks like.
The Ocean of Life
The Fate of Man and the Sea
© 2012, Callum Roberts
Viking Penguin, Penguin Group, London
This is a must-read book on the sorry state of this planet's oceans which are the very foundations of life on the planet, and what you can do to help. The author makes some comments on the issuance of hydrogen sulfide from the sea, in several places such as along the coast of Namibia, but does not connect the dots to the above mentioned book Under a Green Sky in which Dr. Ward shows that H2S destroys the ozone layer. As ocean warming, acidification and pollution increase, H2S emissions will also increase.
The Big Short
Inside the Doomsday Machine
© 2010, Michael Lewis
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., N.Y. and London
This is probably one of the best-written books you will ever read, and it contains the true story of how the 2008 financial crisis came about. The astonishing thing is that all the incompetents who created the problem received huge bonuses when really they should have gone to jail, and the government actually re-wrote history to cover up the bank bailouts. If the government had been smart (oxymoron?) they too would have been shorting the sub-=prime mortgage market and made a trillion dollars for the taxpayers, instead of being total morons and bailing out the corrupt investment banks. I've read this book twice already and it's worth another read, such a great story!