While at the beach this weekend, I read Al Gore’s new book “An Inconvenient Truth.” It’s sobering and effective. I recommend it highly.
Be advised, though, that the book is not just about global warming. It’s also very much about Al Gore. He intersperses his scientific material, diagrams, photographs, and big-font explanations with family snapshots and small-font autobiography. Coming from a lifelong politician, this material really can be seen as nothing other than campaign literature.
I myself didn’t mind the personal stuff too much, because I admire much of what Gore has done with his life, and I learned some things about his family that I didn’t know. But I do think it would have been smarter for him to leave this material out; including it just makes the job of those who wish to discredit the science he’s advancing that much easier.
I’ll confess, though, to one moment of eye-rolling. And it came early — in the very first column on the very first page. Gore alludes to his son’s near-fatal accident in 1989, and then says this: “[D]uring that traumatic period … I made at least two enduring changes. I vowed always to put my family first, and I also vowed to make the climate crisis the top priority of my professional life.”
I recognize that “putting one’s family first” can mean lots of different things to lots of different families. But I’ll go out on a limb and say that one thing “putting your family first” just can’t mean is being President of the United States.
This opening passage of the book rang false to me — a politician’s platitude. Not a good start for a book about truth.