Children of the Sun: A History of Humanity's Unappeasable Appetite for Energyby Alfred W. Crosby
Pub. Date: 08/15/2007
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
We don’t often recognize the humble activity of cooking for the revolutionary cultural adaptation that it is. But when the hearth fires started burning in the Paleolithic, humankind broadened the exploitation of food and took one of several great leaps forward.All life on earth is dependent on energy from the sun, but one species has evolved to be especially… See more details below
We don’t often recognize the humble activity of cooking for the revolutionary cultural adaptation that it is. But when the hearth fires started burning in the Paleolithic, humankind broadened the exploitation of food and took one of several great leaps forward.All life on earth is dependent on energy from the sun, but one species has evolved to be especially efficient in tapping that supply. This is the story of the human species and its dedicated effort to sustain and elevate itself by making the earth’s stores of energy its own. A story of slow evolutionary change and sharp revolutionary departures, it takes readers from the origins of the species to our current fork in the road.With a winning blend of wit and insight, Alfred W. Crosby reveals the fundamental ways in which humans have transformed the world and themselves in their quest for energy. When they first started, humans found fuel much like other species in the simple harvesting of wild plants and animals. A major turn in the human career came with the domestication of fire, an unprecedented achievement unique to the species. The greatest advantage from this breakthrough came in its application to food. Cooking vastly increased the store of organic matter our ancestors could tap as food, and the range of places they could live. As they spread over the earth, humans became more complicated harvesters, negotiating alliances with several other speciesplant and animalleading to the birth of agriculture and civilizations. For millennia these civilizations tapped sun energy through the burning of recently living biomasswood, for instance. But humans again took a revolutionary turn in the last two centuries with the systematic burning of fossilized biomass. Fossil fuels have powered our industrial civilization and in turn multiplied our demand for sun energy. Here we are then, on the verge of exceeding what the available sources of sun energy can conventionally afford us, and suffering the ill effects of our seemingly insatiable energy appetite. A found of the field of global history, Crosby gives a book that glows with illuminating power.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Table of Contents
|List of Illustrations||ix|
|Part I||The Largess of the Sun||1|
|1||Fire and Cooking||7|
|3||The Columbian Exchange||45|
|Part II||Fossilized Sunshine||59|
|4||Coal and Steam||63|
|5||Oil and the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine)||85|
|Part III||Energy at the Turn of the Third Millennium||117|
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Children of the Sun written by Alfred W. Crosby presents a very well written account on humanity’s use of energy mainly during Periods 1, 4, 5, and 6 in the AP World History timeline. In this book, Crosby goes on to tell not just what the energy sources we have used throughout humanity, but he also tells how they have impacted our global culture and environment, possible solutions to how humanity can resolve problems with energy sources we use now, and what he suggests may be the best for energy production and use in the future. Before I began reading this book, I was expecting much less than what I had actually read. With the book having less than 200 pages, I was quite surprised to see how many different things the book covered. With being such a short book, I found the book to be a very good read for informational purposes, especially since it covered a good amount of the time periods studied in AP World History. I believe that Crosby also did well at completing his purpose for the Children of the Sun. I feel that the book is very informative and short enough to be considered a good tool for studying for a test such as the AP World History exam. Crosby also keeps things interesting without going off into his book sounding like a textbook, as he chimes in with his thoughts and ideas every so often to make things sound more interesting. With all the books he had published prior to Children of the Sun and with being a professor emeritus (successful and retired) at the University of Texas at Austin, I can say that Crosby did an A+ job in using his years of experience to tell the story of human-used energy and alternative ways we can now use it and develop it for the future.