In Energy, Richard Rhodes tells the human story of how we have harnessed energy over the millennia – from burning wood and coal to splitting atoms and harvesting solar power. Rhodes profiles the inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs who have powered our civilization, telling each dramatic story in a compelling voice that sparkles with intelligence. He takes readers on an exhilarating journey from Archimedes’s baths in ancient Syracuse to Henry Ford’s Highland Park assembly line; from nineteenth-century London streetlights heated by whale oil to twenty-first century Beijing skyscrapers cooled by nuclear reactors. Along the way, he provides insights into such vexing problems as climate change, terrorism and fuel dependency. This is not just a history of energy technologies but also a lucid explanation of why these innovations matter – for individuals, societies and our imperiled planet.
For who is this book for ?
Energy is a lively, accessible and comprehensive history of energy technologies from their ancient origins to the present day. Rhodes provides insights into why these innovations matter for individuals, societies and our imperiled planet.
- Compelling stories of inventors and entrepreneurs
- Insightful look at the history of energy technologies
- Persuasive explanation of why these innovations matter
- The author’s bias for nuclear power is clear throughout the book.
- The history is too detailed and dense for a general audience.
- Rhodes focuses exclusively on energy technologies and does not address broader environmental or social issues.
Learn more about the author
Richard Rhodes is the author of Energy: A Human History, which tells the human story of how we have harnessed energy over the millennia – from burning wood and coal to splitting atoms and harvesting solar power. He has also written The Making of the Atomic Bomb, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award; Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award; Arsenals of Folly: Nuclear Weapons Policy in America from Harry Truman to George W. Bush; How to Write about Science; and two collections of poetry.
“A tour de force. Richard Rhodes has written not only an extraordinarily readable and comprehensive history of energy but also a deeply insightful treatise on the role that energy plays in human civilization.”
“An immensely readable and wide-ranging chronicle of human ingenuity applied to the challenge of getting power from one place to another. Rhodes has a knack for finding the good stories in science, technology, and engineering.”
“This book is THE comprehensive history of energy. From Archimedes to the latest technologies, Richard Rhodes tells us how each form of energy was harnessed and used. He also explains why each development matters – for individuals, societies and our imperiled planet. Every page sparkles with intelligence.”
“A masterpiece. Rhodes has a genius for explaining difficult concepts in lucid and entertaining prose.”