The End of Oil – Book Review

Review by June Birch, Inside Outsider Publications

The End of Oil
What happens when the cheap oil is gone and then all the oil
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Tatchipen Media, July 2010
70 pages
E-book £3.95
Printed & Bound £5.95 (£9.95 inclusive of worldwide delivery)

When you have had the opportunity to meet the author, as I did, the thing that shines out about Veshengro, is that he doesn’t just talk about sustainability, he lives it, has lived it most of his life by choice and really knows what he is talking about. Furthermore he comes from a tradition of sustainable living and so many of his ideas are centuries sound.

The other thing is that, although there are many sound homesteaders out there, who know exactly how to live in their surroundings, Veshengro has bridged the gap that most people have, of living inside a society which is not sustainable and bringing his own ethics to it. Added to this an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, imagination and enthusiasm for good new ideas, and we have an author with an individual voice whose work I love to read.

In the advertisement for "When the Oil Runs Out", there is a chapter to read to give you a feel for the rest of the book, Veshengro gives you some background, but this isn’t a deeply theoretical essay, just enough to point out honestly what the problems might or might not be. It’s written for everyone and from a very practical base, although the imaginative leaps into the future took me to places I didn’t expect to go.

This is a unique view of post peak oil life, with common sense and knowledgeable advice and some delightful and useful illustrations of sustainable transport from the past; I doubt you will find anything like it elsewhere. There is a reference section at the end for some standard works.

We all have views on how things might happen, mine differ in some respects, but the detail in this book on each aspect he touches is a real "WAKE UP" plea to the reader. Some issues may be controversial, but they are honestly expressed and allow for open debate.

Veshengro writes with courage and the conviction of his ideas, which is why I am a regular follower of his blog in the Green (Living) Review.

The other thing that I personally like is that the book isn’t totally divided up into individual topics. Many writers do this, and it isn’t a natural way of dealing with things, just a formal one. You can escape from reality, by thinking, well, I’ve covered that.

Veshengro, however, pulls the reader back to another point in the way that good conversation does, in fact it’s like listening to a friend who knows a lot and has the comfortable feel of a conversation.

I don’t know how things will turn out, either, but the fact that Veshengro knows about living sustainably and can, ultimately, see a future, comforts me, and may comfort you.

I look forward, with genuine enthusiasm, to the companion volume on useful skills to know and hope that it won’t take too long to produce!

© June Birch. July 16th.2010.