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End Times Paperback – August 27, 2019
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This is the only book that will tell you that, in plain language applied to all variations on the end situation.
Conservatives won't like it; climate change-as-religion types won't like it; but as usual, the person telling the truth is the person who challenges the extremes: Bryan Walsh, in this case.
AND A MESSAGE TO THE CONSERVATIVES WHO HAVE ALREADY HATED THE BOOK:
We're now witnessing a pandemic unfolding in the world--one that Trump called a political hoax. So maybe one reason that Walsh, as you put it, "hates all things Trump" is that Trump, beyond not believing in existential threats or even science, has DEGRADED our ability to prepare for any such.
For open minded thinkers, this probably won't cause you to have sleepless night. However, it sheds some light on just how fragile human civilization is, and how many times we've gotten close to the point of a being history.
I came upon it in the days before the pandemic as a book I would read anyway. His discussions of asteroid hits, supervolcanoes, super-intelligent AI, and alien invasions are all right up my science fiction-lover’s alley. Of course, he’s interested in the reality of such situations but the unlikelihood of one of these things happening anytime soon (i.e. in my lifetime) makes it hard to think of it as something other than fiction.
On the other hand, nuclear annihilation, climate change, and disease all hit rather close to home. I was certain when I was in school back in the seventies and eighties that nuclear war was right around the corner. Though it seems as if nuclear tensions have eased in recent years, it is discomfiting to know how much a danger it remains. Certainly, the scientific evidence of climate change is very unsettling, apart from my anecdotal memories of the blizzards of my youth that have given way to winter after winter with no snow at all.
At the moment, however, the chapter on disease is a must-read. Mr. Walsh got his start in journalism in China coving things like SARS which clearly got him interested in these end-of-the-world scenarios. His descriptions are right on point, all the way down to his predicted government responses to the crisis on p. 192 – 193. I was blown away by how prescient his work appeared.
The earth is constantly being shattered by cataclysmic events and reshaping itself. The dinosaurs are gone thanks to an asteroid. In prehistory, the human race was almost wiped out by supervolcano-induced climate change. But we managed to hang on. (Mr. Walsh points out that only a handful a people have to hand on after a disaster to eventually repopulate the earth.) The things about recent years is that we now understand the things that might kill us all off and we have the potential to do it to ourselves. We also have the potential to save ourselves and that, perhaps, is what makes this book most valuable.