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  • The Geography of Nowhere

  • The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape
  • By: James Howard Kunstler
  • Narrated by: Al Kessel
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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The Geography of Nowhere

By: James Howard Kunstler
Narrated by: Al Kessel
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Summary

In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts our nation's evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern auto suburb in all its ghastliness. The Geography of Nowhere tallies up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that America is paying for its car-crazed lifestyle. It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. "The future will require us to build better places," Kunstler says, "or the future will belong to other people in other societies."

The Geography of Nowhere has become a touchstone work in the two decades since its initial publication, its incisive commentary giving language to the feeling of millions of Americans that our nation's suburban environments were ceasing to be credible human habitats. Since that time, the work has inspired city planners, architects, legislators, designers, and citizens everywhere.

©1993, 2016 James Howard Kunstler (P)2019 Tantor

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Profile Image for Skyler Chaney
  • Skyler Chaney
  • 28-10-20

Suburbia Jeremiad with poor narration

While this book was well researched, Kunstler does not take into account population growth since WW2. We can’t fit nearly 8 billion people into small towns. Still, it made me think about the cost of suburban neighborhoods, and made me a little depressed. The narrator sounded like he was merely pronouncing the individual words and not actually paying attention to the content, resulting in a choppy, disjointed, channel 5 news talking head style that was not pleasant to hear for 12 hours.

2 people found this helpful

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  • michael irwin
  • 23-09-20

Happy Car Armageddon

A realistc presentation of the sad and depressing state of America's aesthetic but read in the tone of a children's bedtime story. A gritty story read with a happy sounding voice diminished the severity of the circumstances we are in.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Eliot J Clingman
  • 23-06-21

narrator. adds full stops. for no reason.

the book is great. the narrator has weird punctuation, stopping in the middle of a sentence for no reason. very irritating.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eduardo
  • 15-05-22

Would be much better as a documentary series

I liked the subject matter and the author did a great job; the research seemed very thorough and was presented in a way that was easy to follow. However a lot of the imagery would have benefited from concrete visuals to truly drive the authors point home in a way that manages to keep the listener engaged. TLDR: too lengthy for a listen.

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  • Don Vesco
  • 15-04-22

An honest opinion of an empire of wretched excess.

I would, were I able, have this fine work read by someone else. The presenters whining, the pearl clutching emphasis of words and phrases distract from the author’s irony.
The content is historically very informative, though recent history has exposed some few faults in the planning. Blowback is apparent in the homeless population and violent nihilism of “idyllic Portland” (though I get the impression that the author would simply blame this on Trump or Libertarians).
Many sensible suggestions in this work should be taken by city councils and residents of small towns, particularly small resort towns. My own city council and manager will be urged to read The Geography of Nowhere.

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  • Richard Cadwell
  • 06-02-22

tough listen

The narrator sounded like a GPS robot. I found it very difficult to stay engaged.

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  • Ash
  • 21-12-21

Racist

“The resident Indian tribes were not easily dislodged” is the only mention of native Americans while the author praises the puritan colonizers.