Get ready for two very important nonfiction books about the fate of humankind that are set for national laydowns in the next few months.
The first to hit the deck running is from the pen of David Wallace-Wells and is titled “The Uninhabitable Earth.” Publication day for what is certain to be a highly-controversial book is scheduled for February 19, according to his publisher.
The second book, also certain to be both massively applauded and at the same time highly controversial, is from New York Times reporter Nat Rich and is based on his 30,000-word essay published in the Times titled “Losing Earth.”
Rich’s book, greatly expanded from the original long-form newspaper article, is about a key period of time in American history (1979-1989) when climate scientists and politicians on both sides of the aisle where trying to come to grips with the great existential threat of runaway climate change that humankind had ever faced.
Both books will rock our world in 2019, and not just in America. Plans are underway to translate both volumes into over 25 languages worldwide, from French to Chinese.
Last year, The New York Times Sunday Magazine devoted an entire issue to Rich’s groundbreaking chronicle of that decade, and the article became an instant media phenomenon — the subject of news coverage, editorials, and conversations all over the world.
In the expanded book, coming in at 350 pages, ”Losing Earth” tells the human story of climate change in rich, intimate terms. It reveals, in previously unreported details, the birth of ”climate denialism” and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry’s coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through ”misinformation propaganda” and political influence.
Like John Hersey’s famous post-war bestseller ”Hiroshima” in 1946, Rich’s book is set to become an instant publishing phenomenon — the subject of international news coverage, newspaper editorials, and watercooler conversations all over the world.
I wonder: By 2050, how will “Losing Earth” be seen by readers then, or by our descendants 100 years from now? Do you have children or grandchildren?
Once their books are released, David and Nat will be expected to go on more rounds of marketing and promotional chores, doing interviews on TV, radio and in print publications worldwide. There will be college lecture tours, book signings, TV appearances, NPR interviews, panel discussions and bookstore visits.
As you can guess, Wallace-Wells’ book, which will hit bookstores stores two months before Rich’s doomsday warning, carries with it its own baggage and controversial passages.
When he penned his now-controversial ”climate doomsday” article in 2016, the publication of the alarmist science article about the future of humankind rang alarm bells around the world. The author was denounced by climate denialists and by many famous climate scientists who believe in climate change.
All hell broke loose. I am not sure how to say that in other languages, but I am sure translators found a way to put that idiom into their own idioms. Here’s a look at two of the articles that appeared around the world in non-English languages.
Vincent Manileve in France, writing for Slate’s French edition, headlined his article: “Climate change: Our Planet will Become Inhabitable Sooner than You Think.”
In Germany, a literary journal ran an article titled “Nach der Science-Fiction kommt die Climate-Fiction” which in English might be rendered as “After Science Fiction Comes Climate Fiction.”
So yes, global warming angst is global and borderless, and runaway global warming will impact humans in all four corners of the globe. There is no time to waste. Nat Rich and David Wallace-Wells know this better than most people.
Their new books represent the battle of our species — the battle for our species.
By the way, just as footnote, some people have asked me how David Wallace-Wells got that hyphenated surname. I did some research.
It turns out that his mother Vivan Wallace married his father Henry Wells, so when David born, he, along with his brother Ben, was given the surnames of both parents in a tradition that caught on in the American counterculture of the 1960s and 70s. So the two boys grew up with a hyphenated last name and it stayed with them, through college and their professional lives as magazine writers, although their parents kept their own surnames, Wallace and Wells, without combining them after marriage.