Review: An Inconvenient Truth–The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (Paperback)

3 Star, Environment (Problems)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

3.0 out of 5 stars Watch the DVD First. Up to Four Stars if You Do That…..,

June 1, 2006
Al Gore
Note: Although the DVD is mostly Al Gore and Powerpoint slides, interspersed with views of the adoring audience, it is a VERY effective briefing, and after seeing the DVD, my appreciation for the book went up. It is still over the top on fonts and graphics–the next edition should be toned down–but if viewed together with the DVD, the book goes up to four stars.

I actually read The Global 2000 Report to the President: Entering the Twenty-First Century as published in 1982 and still in my library, and I follow the excellent work of Lester Brown, whose “State of the World” publications are extremely pointed, pertinent, and professional.

In that context, this book is a real disappointment. It is a superb “coffee table” book, with glorious photographs, some really excellent time phrase photos (showing melting ice and increased drought at the same place over three period. The writing is thoughtful, but the composition of the book makes it very inefficent at communicating the ideas in structured form. This is an artist's rendition, with what for me at least was an annoying jumble of mixed big font sizes, constantly changing lay-outs, and no tables or substantive “here are the ten threats, here are the ten solutions.”

I am waiting for the video, and I suspect that the movie will be ten times more valuable as both an educational and mobilization tool, much as the Wal-Mart video is superior to the Wal-Mart book.

I admire the author very much, and believe that his commitment to the environment and to doing the right thing is genuine.

The best part of the book is the end, which lists a number of things that one can do personally to help with the environment, and also puts a number of “myths” into boxes (e.g. melting of cold ice at the Poles is good), but sadly, the choice of fonts, colors, layouts, and so on make this book a 50% success, at best. “art” or COSMETICS triumphed over substance and seriousness, and the Vice President has lost, yet again, a chance to make a larger difference. I will pray that the movie makes this review, and this book, irrelevant.

This is certainly a book that is worth buying to support the Vice President, to appreciate the photos and content, but this book missed a great opportunity to provide America and the world with a more digestible serious document that could have led to action. In its current form, it is nothing more than a “what nice pictures, quite right, something must be done” and then it goes back on the coffee table and achieves nothing. Sorry, but that is my hard-nosed evaluation.

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