It is both an exciting and a frustrating time for the environmental humanities in the United States. On the one hand, the field is more diverse and more vibrant than ever, as scholars seek to analyze and interpret the reverberations that the issues surrounding climate change, fossil-fuel consumption, and waste have sent through the culture. On the other hand, despite all that we know about climate change and the disasters perpetually generated by the fossil-fuel industry, we have yet to devise viable alternatives to our violent, unsustainable ways of life, let alone to halt the seemingly inevitable expansion of the fossil-fuel industry into ever-more dangerous and disaster-prone regions and modes of extraction. Johnson’s Carbon Nation is a concise, compelling account of a paradox—how today’s knowledge of ecology and energy bring positive environmental change well within the range of possibility, and how at the same time modern culture evinces an intractable...

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