Renewable: The World-Changing Power of Alternative Energy

Jeremy Shere, Author
Jeremy Shere. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-64375-1
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-250-03822-7
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In this rigorous, impassioned, and nonpartisan study, science writer Shere blends first-person reportage and anecdotal history, bringing the state of renewable energy vibrantly alive. A quick glimpse of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison riding together in a Model T through the Florida Everglades in search of land to grow ethanol-producing crops gives way to Shere, standing in the pouring rain, looking over a field of swaying Chinese silver grass—the best choice to replace corn as the basis for ethanol. A description of elegantly attired British colonialists sipping champagne and marveling excitedly at a solar-powered irrigation system in early 20th-century Egypt transitions to an account of researchers at Purdue University and MIT who are making unprecedented advances in solar energy efficiency using nanotechnology. Unfailingly positive, never speculating about entrenched interests, profit margins, or global greed, the stories nevertheless generate provocative contrasts. The fascination, awe, and excitement with which our forbearers viewed advances in alternative energy contrasts markedly with the skepticism, cynicism, and outright hostility that colors the conversation today. While the debate over renewable energy remains mired in politics, Shere’s approach provides a refreshingly optimistic outlook, grounded, but not suffocating, in technical detail, and confirming that, while the relatively low price of oil keeps advances on the margins, the work necessary to wean ourselves off fossil fuels is ongoing. Agent: Irene Goodman, Irene Goodman Agency. (Nov.)
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