Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes reveals the fascinating history behind energy transitions over time - wood to coal to oil to electricity and beyond.
People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and failed, and nations have risen to world power and declined, all over energy challenges. Ultimately, the history of these challenges tells the story of humanity itself.
Through an unforgettable cast of characters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes explains how wood gave way to coal and coal made room for oil, as we now turn to natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Rhodes looks back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford.
In Energy, Rhodes highlights the successes and failures that led to each breakthrough in energy production, from animal and water power to the steam engine, from internal combustion to the electric motor. He addresses how we learned from such challenges, mastered their transitions, and capitalized on their opportunities. Rhodes also looks at the current energy landscape, with a focus on how wind energy is competing for dominance with cast supplies of coal and natural gas. He also addresses the specter of global warming and a population hurtling toward 10 billion by 2100.
Human beings have confronted the problem of how to draw life from raw material since the beginning of time. Each invention, each discovery, each adaptation brought further challenges, and through such transformations we arrived at where we are today. In Rhodes’ singular style, Energy details how this knowledge of our history can inform our way tomorrow.
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- Andrzej Ancygier
Good in describing past, bad in projecting future
well researched in terms of past technologies, although jumping to only loosely related topics too often. But the description of renewables versus nuclear ignored the recent trends of renewables rapidly developing and solutions to its intermittency emerging. The statement about the "heavily subsidized renewables" ignores the fact of renewables being often the cheapest source of energy, and the opposite happening for nuclear.
- Amazon Customer
The subject is really interesting and the development of the story is good. A strict chronological story line would have been much better. The auther is really badly jumping back and forth in the timeline and it's hard to really keep it clear what happens when.