"Hell-In-A-Handbasket" books

I’m not going to cite any specific books of the type in that title but I am referring to the sort that are addressing things like the dire consequences of, for example, climate change.

They all seem to follow the following format: Paint an incredibly bleak picture for a dozen or so chapters only to end with some cheery, hopeful message involving some change in the behavior of mankind THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

Or am I just being cynical?

You mean like, for example, Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population?

Oh, don’t fuckin’ start me, here. I’ve been complaining bitterly about such books in my general field for several years now - DOOOOOOM!!! title, fifteen chapters of annotated, footnoted, researched shitblizzard forecast… and a cheery little “but maybe the boy will fall out of bed and it will all have been a dream” epilogue. Every freakin’ time.

I can only assume that it’s a requirement of publishers and/or agents, a sugar coating to play the reader out with music and make them buy the next such book instead of realizing that some problems, no, aren’t easily soluble and yes, might just eat us.

They tend to fall into the category of what I call “airplane books” - those of a particular few types (doom, business secrets, success stories) sold at airports to traveling executives who then read them on the next flight leg. Not too long, not too complicated, EZ illustrations, and a particular tone… most, whatever their nominal subject, aim or focus, seem to be in-group hand-jobs to this class of traveling citizen. Many of those I’ve read gleefully and smugly tell how they made their millions screwing Joe and Jane Consumer raw… and You Can, Too!

But yes, the tacked-on happycrappy… should be illegal or something.

I suppose not very many people would be inclined to read a non-fiction, “we’re all gonna die” book but I sure lose respect for the authors who engage in this practice.

Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century: Rampant income inequality is going to destroy civil society but it can all be fixed if we just get rich people to act against their self interests for the first time in history!