The best single primer on energy also happens to be written by an Austrian economist--a Rothbardian even!
Author Robert Bradley, together with Richard Fulmer, have put together an outstanding book that covers this huge subject, beginning with answers to the most fundamental questions (What is energy? Where does energy come from?) through current policy applications (Are we running out of oil? Is the globe warming?). It is ideal for students and classroom use. But it is also the best book for anyone who wants to think and talk intelligently about this huge topic.
It is set up in the form of a textbook, with excellent graphics and clear text, but also contains enough documentation to provide resources for further study. The organization is outstanding and the discussion thorough. For example, under the topic of electricity, we find short descriptions of coal-fired plants, nuclear fission, natural gas, hydroelectric plants, wind power, geothermal energy, microturbines solar power, biomass, fuel cells, and more. A great merit of this book is that it discusses not just the technology but also the economics of various alternative energy sources--a point which is nearly always neglected in the usual literature.
Also not neglected is the area of energy regulation and its effects, and the authors take a free-market perspective.
Gene Callahan is precisely right: "The authors deserve high praise for having created a comprehensive, easily accessible introduction to the vast, multi-disciplinary study of the relationship between humans and energy. It is hard to imagine a better staring place from which to begin exploring the topic."
Lew Rockwell writes: "It behooves every citizen to bone up on this subject, which is sure to grow in importance in the coming years. You need Robert Bradley's book to get clear on the technological, economic, and political issues involved in energy markets."
Paperback, 235 pages.