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Extended Audio Sample World Made by Hand Audiobook, by James Howard Kunstler Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,837 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Howard Kunstler Narrator: Jim Meskimen Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The World Made by Hand Novels Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9781470800406
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In The Long Emergency, celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production combined with climate change had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. In World Made by Hand, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler brings to life what America might be, a few decades hence, after these catastrophes converge.

The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. In Union Grove, a little town in upstate New York, the future is nothing like people thought it would be. Life is hard and close to the bone. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. The townspeople’s challenges play out in a dazzling, fully realized world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers, no longer polluted, and replenished with fish.

This is the story of Robert Earle and his fellow townspeople and what happens to them one summer in a country that has changed profoundly. A powerful tale of love, loss, violence, and desperation, World Made by Hand is also lyrical and tender, a surprising story of a new America struggling to be born—a story more relevant now than ever.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Richly imagined.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Far from a typical postapocalyptic novel…An impassioned and invigorating tale whose ultimate message is one of hope, not despair.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Brilliant.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • World Made by Hand is an end-of-days novel that is more a pleasure than a burden to read.”

    Baltimore City Paper

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jess | 2/16/2014

    " I originally wanted to give this novel a four-star review as it was a well-written and engaging book. I wanted to like this book more than I do. It's a dystopian novel set in the not so distant future where society and modern technology have fallen apart leaving the survivors left to rebuild a new world. That's the kind of stuff my favorite novels are made of! But Kuntsler presents us with a world where gender roles revert back to the dark ages without so much as a whimper from women or an explanation why. Seriously? Am I, the reader, just supposed to accept that women who were successful leaders and equal community members suddenly have no problem serving only as the cooks, maids, and caretakers for men? Oh, and these formerly independent women are seemingly satisfied with fulfilling the sexual needs of these men regardless of age or attractiveness? I don't think so, Kunstler. Nice attempt, but what could have been a great book (you are a talented writer which is why I gave this three stars) examining how a society rebuilds itself when all of its conveniences are gone ended up reading like some bitter, middle-aged man's fantasy of once again being king of the hill. Ugh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivor Thomas | 2/10/2014

    " I occasionally like reading Kunstler's OpEd's and gave this a try. Pretty decent, but he's not really what I'd call an accomplished novelist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana | 1/19/2014

    " It's a scary world after the bomb is dropped, flu takes thousands, no medicine. Houses are scavenged for usable materials. I sure hope we don't end up like this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 1/19/2014

    " Got this as a birthday gift last year. Thought it was so great had to read more Kunstler. A realistic view of what we may face. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shushlibrarian | 1/13/2014

    " Though this book was long on dialogue and short on character development, I did end up enjoying it despite myself. Bits of it were clever, but there were certain scenes that seemed out of place, unless a sequel is forthcoming. For instance, when the New Faithers come to the community and buy the local high school building, Robert is given a tour by Brother Jobe (leader of the New Faith community). He is allowed to meet...what the heck did they call her...Great Mother (Mary Beth Ivanhoe)? Who appears to be a grossly obese psychic woman - the queen bee of their "hive." The encounter is weird and disturbing - even the mention of the "hive" and building of "cells" seems to hint at foreshadowing, but nothing eve comes of it. Then, when Robert and Loren go to the trailer park to formally arrest Wayne Karp, Loren is subjected to the worst torture, but Robert escapes with only a bucket of outhouse slops poured over his head. This seems at odds with the mood of the Karp crowd and Wayne himself. Not believable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suz | 12/26/2013

    " Very interesting concept of life after destruction of the American economy. Life reverts back to the way it was before technology. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Crystal | 12/22/2013

    " Overall, I think life post-peak-oil-collapse would be very much like this in terms of the losses of things that people are used to. Other aspects of the book were extremely unrealistic and I didn't like the depictions of women. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 12/9/2013

    " An absolutely magnificent, post-apocalyptic novel of hope rather than doom. I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction and it's refreshing to see such a brilliant story woven in such a way that you're immersed in the world Kunstler paints. Good luck putting the book down! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcella | 11/19/2013

    " Very trippy book and so interesting. Its an account of what it would be like to be living in a post-apocalyptic US town with no outside communication, no power or fuel, and the way people must adapt to survive. Makes you think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ginger | 10/26/2013

    " Great book on a dystopian future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terri Halstead | 7/16/2012

    " So far I like it. It's about the world in the not-so-distant future. There are no cars or machines. There is rare, spotty electricity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amelia | 3/31/2012

    " This book gives you so much to think about. Luckily the dentist still had his job after the world changed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Sinclair | 7/14/2011

    " Very well written and interesting. That said, several points felt unresolved, and some elements felt placed for future books to resolve. This tacked-on aspect took away from the story's pace. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ike | 5/1/2011

    " A light easy read. I can't wait for the sequel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 4/21/2011

    " What happens when the oil wells run dry? It's not The Road but it's still pretty bleak picture. This doesn't have the most well-developed story or characters, but a real glimpse into the details of a postapocalyptic world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 4/15/2011

    " This was an interesting post modern world book, similar to Alas Babylon, which is one of my favorites. In this book, it has been some years since the occurrence that sets the world back, and you can see the different ways of coping. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 4/11/2011

    " I loved this book. So applicable to today's world. I plan to read everything this author has written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggie | 4/7/2011

    " Dan and I read this together about two years ago, and I've thought about it time and time again. I loved the premise and I think we would do great in a world like that because my husband is so darn handy! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suz | 4/2/2011

    " Very interesting concept of life after destruction of the American economy. Life reverts back to the way it was before technology. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 3/5/2011

    " Great work of fiction...not so far off from the future that could happen...the follow-up isn't quite as good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 2/27/2011

    " An interesting post apocalyptic novel set in washington County NY. "

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About the Author
Author James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler was born in New York City in 1948. He is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestseller The Long Emergency. After college he worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone. In 1975 he began writing books and lecturing full time.

About the Narrator

Jim Meskimen is a stage, film, and television actor who has appeared in many well-known movies and television shows. He acted in Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon for director Ron Howard, both of which were nominated for Best Picture Oscars. His television appearances include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, Lie to Me, Criminal Minds, and Parks and Recreation. He is also a painter, award-winning audiobook narrator, and audiobook director for Galaxy Audio.