Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy [NOOK Book]

Overview

Tells the entire story of humankind’s use of solar energy, reaching all the way back 6,000 years to stone age China and then bringing the story all the way up to now. The only book in existence that attempts to tell the entire story of humankind’s more than 6,000 year use of solar energy. Most people think of solar power as being a 20th century invention. Few know that the first photovoltaic cells joined the grid on a New York City rooftop in 1881; or that engineers in France used solar power to run steam engines...
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Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy

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Overview

Tells the entire story of humankind’s use of solar energy, reaching all the way back 6,000 years to stone age China and then bringing the story all the way up to now. The only book in existence that attempts to tell the entire story of humankind’s more than 6,000 year use of solar energy. Most people think of solar power as being a 20th century invention. Few know that the first photovoltaic cells joined the grid on a New York City rooftop in 1881; or that engineers in France used solar power to run steam engines in 1860s; or that in 1901 an ostrich farmer in Southern California used a solar engine with a massive 33-1/2 foot mirrored dish to irrigate 300 acres of trees by pumping 1,400 gallons of water every minute from a reservoir using nothing but the power of the sun. And these are just a few of the incredible stories that will be told in the book. Author John Perlin began telling this story in 1980 with the first edition of their book A Golden Thread, which then went back 2,500 years and covered up through the late 70s. The book sold 55,000 copies and received rave reviews, with the reviewer for The Los Angeles Times calling it a “humbling book” and a “rich mine of information.” The New York Times called it “A clear and evocative account of the 2,500-year history of a technology – solar energy – that many people thought was a purely 20th century development” and The Washington Post gave the book an even stronger review calling it a “careful, thoughtful” book that touches on “an awesome range of solar uses and issues.” Lester Brown, Founder of the Worldwatch institute has said, “A Golden Thread has become a classic” and a contributor to the popular energy blog “The Oil Drum” wrote that it is “like The Prize but from a solar perspective.”
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Let It Shine is the solar bible. Thank you, John Perlin!”
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute

“John Perlin is the historian of solar energy. He now takes the history back thousands of years to early Chinese architecture and the yang-sui, the little bronze mirrors boys used to start the family fire, to nineteenth-century inventors who feared that coal supplies were about to run out, to modern passive solar buildings and today’s falling costs and growing use of photovoltaics. He does all this with a penchant for the diverse characters along the journey and with remarkable illustrations that vividly capture the six-thousand-year story of solar energy.”
Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World and The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power

“With remarkable depth, breadth, and precision, John Perlin lays out humankind’s long reliance on the sun before the carbon era and points the way to a healthy, comfortable, productive, resilient solar-powered world. There is more intelligence and common sense in this volume than in all the federal reports on energy of the last quarter-century combined.”
Denis Hayes, former director of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute and founder of the Earth Day Network

“The authoritative background story behind the worldwide solar revolution, Let It Shine is a story of human ingenuity and perseverance told with clarity and depth. The next chapter is ours to write.”
David W. Orr, professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College and author of Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse

Let It Shine makes it abundantly clear that solar energy has a long and glorious past — a prologue, in fact — that is as bright and diverse as its future will be. Far from being a disruption of the current energy economy, solar power can be harnessed in thousands of ways, making it easy to embrace and integrate into our future, as this book brilliantly demonstrates.”
Daniel M. Kammen, distinguished professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley

Let It Shine shows how today’s renewable revolution builds on the tenacious efforts of countless generations of innovators whose vision we may finally be privileged enough to bring to full flower.”
— from the foreword by Amory Lovins, cofounder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute

Praise for A Golden Thread, the previous edition of Let It Shine:

“An absolute must-read.”
Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of Powering the Dream

“Western man has been using the sun’s rays for useful purposes since the days of ancient Greece, as this comprehensive, carefully researched, clearly written history of solar architecture and technology makes abundantly clear. The illustrations and diagrams that illuminate the text on almost every page are especially fine examples of modern graphic presentations.”
New York Times

“It is a humbling book. Handsomely illustrated and lucidly written, A Golden Thread is a rich mine of information.”
Los Angeles Times

“The history of mankind’s efforts to use the sun’s energy is a fascinating story, one told in a lively yet scholarly manner here....The triumphs and defeats of solar pioneers help us appreciate what a solar future may yet hold.”
Christian Science Monitor

“This book is sorely needed in the solar publication field, for although there are any number of how-to books on solar technology, few if any examine the history of this much-neglected energy source in any depth.”
Denver Post

“I just happened to be carrying A Golden Thread in my suitcase at Princeton. On my way home, I devoured it. Richly illustrated and thoroughly documented, it is a feast for the most critical historian’s mind and eye.”
Technology Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608681334
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 536
  • Sales rank: 764,257
  • File size: 23 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

The work of John Perlin, author of A Forest Journey and From Space to Earth, can be read at USAToday.com, WallStreetJournal.com, and Bloomberg.com. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
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