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Posted January 21, 2007
If our policymakers would read this book, we would have a clearer understanding of how our world became addicted to oil, which corporations did it to us, and exactly how we could quickly get off of oil. Everyone should read this groundshaking book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2007
Internal Combustion: My deeper appreciation of this book (IC) comes from following footnotes in Edwin Black's scholarly documented and engagingly written Banking on Baghdad. It is a privilege and weal to seek support for a presumed fact, only to have it overturned by evidence, or read of some contentions held solely by cranks, only to see them revealed as authentic, historical and true. But Black's skill in story finding and telling, coordinating scores of volunteers and command of 50,000 plus relevant documents is not IC's greatest strength. I've relearned to read and understand both footnotes and acknowledgements to (understand) apprehend the completely transparent, public story that none-the-less is often missed even by the fervent fans of books clutched who skip the nearly quarter of a book which is the primary and secondary source validation. No blank assertions will you find in this book. But hearing truth on top of skill is not its greatest value. Courage to name names and say plainly what history would hide is admirable, and would distinguish this book. But what does make this recounting of history and peering into the near future worthy of special notice, of our time to read and investment of our life to buy what lies revealed in these pages? Many can bash the evil, or even laud the good. Internal Combustion transcends even these because it provides obvious (and supported) history and human beating heart context, and challenges me personally to crawl out of abstractions and face facts: among them that right now more than 6 times the energy annually obtained from oil is annually available within our boarders in the United States. Clean green power. Now. Already. The ramifications are transcendent. With irrefutable support on every page, in every paragraph, and in every sentence, Edwin Black makes me as a reader see how potent and relevant my daily choices are, and understand the ramifications of the impact of hundreds of thousands of minor players--footnotes--like myself, in the aggregate. My vote, my car, my energy, political activity, my very life I may concede as insignificant. But in concert with millions of others, my turning awareness, as nourished by Edwin Black, is far from impotent--the contrary--the world hinges and rides upon the likes of us, and the choices we make based on what we know. And Edwin Black leaves no doubt at the last page, on the last line, just exactly what it is that we know we know. Perhaps everybody knows that the dice are loaded and everybody knows it's coming apart, yet Black with Internal Combustion goes a step beyond recognition of fact and heart ache and so it is that Edwin Black, in extension beyond that leaves me clearly seeing what I know, what it means, how I got here, and what really I can do--what to do. Thank you Edwin. David ArnoldWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 16, 2006
This new Black gem is typical Edwin - a boldly written page-turner brightly illuminating past misdeeds and miscreants as an important lesson for the future. As with his past books, IC features Black's trademark meticulous, well-referenced original research that draws upon previously unseen records and collections, such as the judge's hand-written notes from the GM conspiracy trial. In this latest investigation, Black goes back thousands of years, telling the history of fuel use and cartels, bringing life to mostly forgotten events. Black not only brings life to these events, but shows how enthralling well-told history can be. IC then moves to the real meat, the saga of the bad boys of bicycles, electric vehicles, and the internal combustion engine. Black gives life to great names of the past - Edison and Ford, among others. The telling is vivid - one can picture the massive and suspicious fire that destroyed Edison's facilities and the electric future that went with those facilities. Along with the book's heroes - people like Edison and Ford and companies like Honda - are the goats, like GM. Black meticulously dissects their activities in unravelling the electric trolleys - in a line by line, document by document, action by action telling of their massive conspiracy that is impossible to put down. (Flack jackets optional!) After whacking the ethanol industry, Black identifies the transportation fuel of the future as being hydrogen, made from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Not suprisingly, Black's corporate hero for the future is Honda. And in an extremely insightful assessment, Black lauds Honda not only for their work on fuel cell vehicles, but more importantly, their Home Energy Center that is now in development. I had the opportunity to see Black speak to the California Hydrogen Business Council at a book launch on September 15. Black is as good a speaker as he is a writer, and provided a few surprises. He is on a 300 event book tour right now, and I would urge you to see him speak in person as well as read the book. You'll find the tour schedule at Black's website.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.