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Consuming Power: A Social History of American Energies Reprint Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262640381
ISBN-10: 0262640384
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Despite the double-entendre in its title, this work focuses less on the history of America's consumption of energy than on its sheer consumption, conspicuous and incorrigible. Nye (American studies, Odense Univ., Denmark; American Technological Sublime, LJ 11/1/94) attempts to examine how the development of energy systems within America's unique culture, within a complex set of social constructions, caused the United States to become the "greatest power-consuming nation in history." His rambling and tentative work moves awkwardly from the painfully mundane, such as the type of shoes people wore, to the painfully abstruse: "Possessing a new way to move through the world creates tacit dynamic and perceptual knowledge, thus expanding the potential for experience." Lacking serious discussion of BTUs and horsepower, it is largely a hodgepodge of technology, commerce, and labor, a better treatment of which can be found in any standard history text. Not recommended.?Robert C. Ballou, Atlanta
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This survey is compellingly written, making intelligent use of entertaining anecdotes, apt but unfamiliar quotations, and concrete details of everyday life -- all in the service of innovative general arguments.

(Jeffrey L. Meikle, Director, American Studies Program, University of Texas at Austin; author of American Plastic: A Cultural History)
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (February 26, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262640384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262640381
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Rating the first book one has read on a subject is always a speculative venture one has nothing to compare it with. That said, Consuming Power is a very engaging read and covers a wide range of technical and social issues that gave rise to power systems in the US, contrasting our choices with the UK to make the case that, indeed, our systems WERE choices. The later chapters in the book are not without a bias regarding the current debate over human induced climate change, but the presentation is forthright; one can choose to agree with the author or not. This is a good read, and the copious footnotes provide ample information for additional acquisitions.
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Format: Paperback
I thought this book was fascinating. I have been doing research on energy for a long time and this is one of the best books I have read. Nye examines the role that energy use has played in American society -- an important relationship that energy analysts have generally ignored. The book is very readable and well-researched, and always interesting.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous piece of social history -- deeply researched, insightful, and utterly lucid. It is among the best university-press books I can remember reading.
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Format: Paperback
Intereseting book had to have it for class. Shipped as expected.
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