User Review - Flag as inappropriate
Warning: this is a history book. Compared to many academic history books (read: the kind produced by professors who have spent years researching material and putting it through peer review), this book is very lively. With personalities such as Stewart Brand, what book couldn't be? However, I've never been one for reading straight through an academic book. Most of these books were developed from articles or theses, expanding upon a central thesis that was put forth in a shorter work. In my opinion, the best authors in this milleu know when to expand an idea and when to cut their fledgling book short.
Kirk does a good, but not great job of doing this. If you don't skim this book, you will find yourself thinking that the author is hitting a particular point too hard. So do what all university students do: read the intro, read the conclusion, and skim the interior for pieces that attract you. You'll get a lot more out of the read.
Objectivity put aside, this is one of the more inspirational history books I've read. Kirk's thesis that the Whole Earth Catalog represented the formation of a new environmental ethic that concentrated on man's ability to change society for the better through the sustainable application of technology is a message of hope in a new century where "appropriate technology" (wind/solar energy, alternative construction methods, biological grey water processing, etc) is just catching on. As someone who has worked in and along the periphery of the green sector, I think budding green entrepreneurs would be interested to learn about their predecessors and the zeitgeist of the late '60s/early '70s. Although many historical accounts contend that the optimism of this cultural flowering were crushed by social chaos and buried by the Reagan Era, I think Kirk has highlighted some of the more enduring legacies of the "counterculture" movement in the green pragmatism that can be seen in many emerging industries today.