So, I went to Amazon.com and read the review, and then, I commented here on my blog, to thank Mr. Johnson for his comments and his review. I liked the review, overall, because he says my book is "useful" and "well-written."
About the solar energy question, he says that my nervousness about becoming dependent upon solar energy technology does not appear ... to be well-founded. His criticism is that I only discuss solar photo-voltaic technology, and in fact, this is not true. There is a chapter in which I discuss different options for generating electricity. One of the options I mention is solar PV systems, but I say that solar power generation may not be the best option for everyone, and that there are, perhaps, some better options. He accuses me of ignoring solar thermal technology, like cooking and passive heating using the sun, but that's not true, either. I mention solar ovens in the cooking chapter, and on page forty, I say solar passive heating ... should be considered and add that the Internet is rife with DIY plans for solar window heaters. I don't mention them in the chapter in which I discuss solar PV systems, because solar thermal collection for heating and cooking is not relevant to a discussion of different ways to make electricity.
The chapter that really seems to bother Mr. Johnson, however, is the chapter on health care, and he makes some pretty harsh accusations.
For the record, I do not provide medical advice in my book. I list ten common herbs (jewel weed, garlic, lavendar, sage, comfrey, dill, peppermint, tarragon, thyme, and chives) and some health conditions they might be used for. What I say in my book, at worst, falls into the category of "medical information" *which is the relation of facts* and is considered a fundamental free speech right and is not considered medical advice.
The real problem, though, is that Mr. Johnson seemed to miss the point of the book, which is that it's a HYPOTHETICAL scenario based on the premise that we have twenty-one days until some catastrophic event happens, which will completely change the world as we know it.
He states: "all through your book you talk about The End Of The World As We Know It as though you expect it to happen at any moment, but now you say the book is just an exercise in hypothetical thinking. So which is it? Thought experiment or serious preparation for TEOTWAWKI?"
The Preface of my book says: ... our survival is dependent on an incredibly unreliable and fragile system [but] most of us do not think there is anything we can do. But there is. And the first step is to pretend that we know the event that changes our modern lives forever is going to happen in 21 days. (11)
The book is a thought-exercise on the kinds of things we could be doing right now to simplify our lives and become more self-sufficient so that we are not dependent on the systems that routinely fail us. So, in answer to the question, it’s both.
The point of my book is to empower people to take control of their lives – including their own health.
I think it's important that we have these discussions. What's not helpful, however, is what has been happening. From the very beginning, Mr. Johnson's comments were argumentative and provocative. I understood from his Amazon review where he was coming from, and I recognized - from the beginning - that no matter what I said, he would hold fast to his belief that in my book I am:
- irresponsibly dispensing medical advice, which I’m not;
- and unqualified to provide easily verifiable information about some common herbs.
The information in the health care section of my book is not "medical advice". It is information. That's all.
The premise of my book is that we have twenty-one days to prepare for some catastrophic event. The situation is hypothetical, and the book is a thought-exercise on the kinds of things we could be doing right now to simplify our lives, and as Mr. Johnson wisely observes, if we adopted this thrifty, environment-friendly lifestyle, we might well avoid the sort of wholesale collapse of the industrial economy that is being foretold in many peak everything circles.
I'm hopeful that we can avoid the scenario of total collapse, but I'm not terribly confident, without some real changes in our lifestyles and behaviors, that we will.
The question is if we don't avoid the scenario, then, what? That's what my book attempts to answer - the "then, what?"
Maybe nothing happens ....
But maybe something does, and on that issue, at least, Mr. Johnson and I agree that it is wise to plan [and prepare] for such a possibility.
*Post edited by author