Power Trip: A Journey Through Our Fossil-Fuel Past in Search of a Renewable Future

Power Trip: A Journey Through Our Fossil-Fuel Past in Search of a Renewable Future

by Amanda Little
     
 

Power Trip is an adventurous, wonk-free, big-picture, solutions-oriented narrative by leading young journalist Amanda Little that maps out the history and future of America’s energy addiction. Infused with next-generation candor and optimism, Power Trip examines the ways in which oil and coal have shaped America as an international

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Overview

Power Trip is an adventurous, wonk-free, big-picture, solutions-oriented narrative by leading young journalist Amanda Little that maps out the history and future of America’s energy addiction. Infused with next-generation candor and optimism, Power Trip examines the ways in which oil and coal have shaped America as an international superpower—even as they posed political and environmental dangers to the nation and the world. Hard-hitting yet optimistic, Power Trip is a manifesto for the younger generations who are inheriting the earth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The inscription on a granite obelisk in Beaumont, Tex., claims: “On this spot on the tenth day of the twentieth century, a new era in civilization began.” On that scrubby mound of dirt gushed a fountain of oil that sprayed for days, tripled U.S. oil production overnight and set off a frenzy that revolutionized the industrial age. Previously, crude oil and its derivative, kerosene, held little more value than cheap ways to heat and light homes, but as wildcatters, engineers and investors began to conjure how the new fuel could power—and liberate—people, oil grew integral to modern life. Environmental journalist Little picks up during the summer blackout of 2003, when a massive line of electrical cable shorted, leaving six major metropolitan areas without power for days. Reflecting on the impact of the power outage, Little examines the role fossil fuels plays in her own life, and out of her self-examination emerges a thoughtful—if occasionally self-conscious—book that gives energy neophytes an accessible way to learn about fossil fuels and their fallacies. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
In her ambitious and highly readable first book, environmental journalist Little explains how the United States became addicted to fossil fuel-based energy and how we can break this addiction. Despite the finite nature of fossil fuels, Americans are utterly dependent on them-to power cars, light cities, heat and cool homes, grow food and keep the military running (while it fights wars to protect the oil it needs). Plastic, an oil-based product, is everywhere, and even the pharmaceuticals we consume are derived from oil. Little asks how we ended up where we are, and her answer is that fossil fuels were cheap and convenient. She expertly ties together disparate strains of history to make her case. For instance, John D. Rockefeller ruthlessly rationalized the refining, marketing and distribution of oil. Henry Ford made the automobile affordable to most families. Dwight Eisenhower led the creation of the 40,000-mile-long interstate highway system. William Levitt invented the suburb. All of these developments contributed to the American addiction oil, but the era of cheap and convenient fossil-fuel energy is drawing to a close. Can the United States survive this change? Little believes yes, and takes the reader on a tour of the big corporations and small startups that are developing alternative sources of energy-wind, solar, ocean, geothermal, garbage-and new ways to distribute and use them. The author sees a new energy consciousness emerging, most importantly at the grassroots level, including communities that are reconnecting to cooperatively fund energy-saving projects, or to protect poor neighborhoods from the inequitable distribution of pollution. Energy-efficient homes-some of whichactually give back more energy than they consume-have emerged from the ruins of post-Katrina New Orleans. Evangelicals and atheists, billionaires and community activists, young and old, the author suggests, are reaching a consensus that America can and must become free of fossil fuel. Jargon-free and written with a fine eye for detail-one of the best books on America's energy crisis to emerge in recent years. Author appearances in Nashville, New York, Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061353253
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Pages:
446
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.70(d)

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