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Freedom From Oil: How the Next President Can End the United States' Oil Addiction [Hardcover]

David Sandalow
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)


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Book Description

September 13, 2007 0071489061 978-0071489065 1

“I plan to deliver an address from the Oval Office one month from today. The topic will be oil dependence.”

With these opening words, Freedom from Oil takes the reader to the highest levels of government, as Cabinet members and White House aides debate how to break our addiction to oil. In a fast-moving narrative, David Sandalow shows how to solve this problem while offering a unique window into the White House at work.

A White House veteran, Sandalow explores what would happen if the next President made breaking the United States' addiction to oil a top priority. In crisp and clear prose, Sandalow explains the size of the challenge and then offers a powerful message of hope. “This issue unites Americans,” he writes. “Game-changing technologies are at hand.” Plug-in cars, biofuels and measures to improve traffic are all part of the solution.

Throughout the book, profiles of fascinating individuals help bring serious policy dialogue to life. From the commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq to a grandmother in northern Alaska to an electric car entrepreneur to the winner of the Indianapolis 500, Freedom from Oil is filled with stories of people whose lives have been touched by oil dependence-and are working to find solutions.

Drawing on both his government experience and energy expertise, Sandalow depicts the President's top advisers as they explore options, shape solutions and create national policy, culminating in an inspiring speech by the President to the nation.



Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Widespread Acclaim for

Freedom from Oil

“When David Sandalow writes about energy and the environment, we should all pay close attention.”-Al Gore

Freedom from Oil is a compelling analysis of one of the great challenges of our time. David Sandalow draws upon his extensive White House experience and offers a powerful vision of a clean energy future.”-William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the United States

“David Sandalow's Freedom from Oil should be required reading for all concerned citizens and elected officials.”-U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar(R-IN), from the Foreword

“One of the clearest, most innovative approaches to energy that has been written. A superb combination of policy and politics, cast in highly readable government policy and memo format. Every American should read David Sandalow's book.” -General Wesley Clark

“Superb analysis and recommendations that show how we can break our dependence on oil without further dithering. The next Administration, or this one, could do no better than to go with Sandalow's package.” -R. James Woolsey, Vice President Booz Allen Hamilton; former director, Central Intelligence Agency

Freedom from Oil should be at the top of the reading list for America's next president . . . This is an important book for anyone concerned about the most pressing threat to our security, our economy and our environment.” -Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council

About the Author

David Sandalow is Energy Environment Scholar and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a former assistant secretary of state and senior director on the National Security Council.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (September 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071489061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071489065
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oil should be THE topic during 2008 election cycle October 4, 2007
Format:Hardcover
This is an important and timely book. David Sandalow is to be commended for writing a well-researched, non-partisan book that offers a candid assessment of our addiction to oil; the adverse consequences that flow from that addiction, and a realistic assessment of various policy options regarding liquid fuel substitutions that could, and should, be vigorously pursued by the next administration.

The introduction of "Freedom From Oil" makes several important points, whic include:

"First, oil is everywhere. Everyone reading this book will use oil-directly or indirectly-in the next day.

...Second, drivers have no substitutes for oil.

....Third, our political dialogue about oil is stuck in the 1970s, focusing on just one part of a larger problem.

....To become independent of foreign oil, we must become independent of oil. That doesn't mean no oil in our vehicles. It means giving drivers a choice between oil and other fuels.

This conclusion is not radical. Experts across the political spectrum have been saying it, in different ways, for many years. But it has not permeated our political dialogue on the topic of oil.

Which leads to a forth insight: Ending oil dependence will require political leadership.

The changes required to end oil dependence are far-reaching. Lead times are long. Many current proposals are far too small. For the scope of change needed to solve this problem, presidential leadership is essential." (pg. 4)

From there Sandalow write a hypothetical memo from the President states: "I plan to deliver an address from the Oval Office one month from today. The topic will be oil dependence.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, substantial, and easy to read October 14, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you want to understand the issues and options surrounding oil, this book is a must-read. Most books from think tanks are one of two kinds: either long and dry and irresolute, leaving you with "one the one hand / on the other"; or polemical and one-sided, cherry picking info to support a narrow point of view. This book manages cover a lot of content from many angles and boil it down to a coherent policy, all in a concise and very readable book. It's not every day a policy book gets praise from Democrats and Republicans, and from military and environmental figures, at the same time.

I found it particularly striking that Sandalow has managed to integrate technological trends into the economic, environmental, and geopolitical issues surrounding oil. With this book, even the stodgy establishment Brookings Institution manages to put pluggable hybrid vehicle technology at the center of public policy, showing both the benefits and the proper government support for the technology. That's the kind of thinking that has guided Pentagon thinking for decades (as in jet aircraft, GPS, computer networks, and robotics), but is rarely seen in domestic, environmental or foreign affairs.

There's a lot of talk about oil on the Internet. It could benefit from the solid information and analysis in this book. Whether your concern is global warming, peak oil, or petro-terrorism, this book is essential.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but fundementally flawed overview November 9, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As one who has extensively studied the issue of peak oil, especially as it relates to transportation in the US, I was initially very excited when "Freedom From Oil" was released. The book is an absolutely wonderful overview some partial solutions to the oil dependence problem, but I feel it is major flawed - the author very clearly assumes that the overall goal is continuing to make the automobile to overwhelming dominant factor in transportation in the US and fails to cover the nation's aviation system. Mass transit is only mentioned once or twice, and rail of any sort doesn't even get enough mention to be included in the index. The reality is, as much as there are many promising alternatives to oil, we dramatically need to cut back energy use in this country to a sustainable level. This is going to require a massive investment in mass transit, as well as the development of high speed rail along major corridors, much like is done in Europe. I was shocked that mass transit or high speed rail didn't have a chapter of its own, though increased transit funding was mentioned as part of the smart growth chapter. He only vaugely suggests that mass transit might receive some funding from an increased gas tax (the suggestion occupies all of once sentence in the book). Additionally, the use of airlines as the almost exclusive means of long distance transit in this country wasn't even covered. "Airline" isn't even in the index. He also glosses over wide-scale deployment of electric cars, choosing to focus more on plug in hybrids (though an article is included in which another party states that the plug in hybrid is only a transition vehicle, which is fairly acurate). Overall, Freedom from Oil was an interesting but highly frustrating read, as Sandlow skirts around and fails to cover some of the most significant changes this country needs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice but not enough December 3, 2007
Format:Hardcover
Good introductory book for the problem and possible solutions. But the solutions do not go far enough and the problems (climate change, peak oil, power of oil companies, international pressures) are not deeply enough analyzed for my taste.
Read this and then get "Heat" by George Monbiot to understand the magnitude of the challenge that is upon us.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The very phrase "freedom from oil" makes no sense.
I am honored to be the second search result below this book on the topic of "American Freedom from Oil? Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kevin Kane
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting idea but repetitive and lacks substance
Sandalow really has a creative idea for the book but he repeats himself in every letter that he writes. Read more
Published on February 5, 2011 by greener
1.0 out of 5 stars Essay for my class
I had to read this book for class and here is my response essay. Feel free to plagiarize me.

"Freedom from Oil" is an important introduction to understanding political... Read more
Published on February 10, 2010 by Travis M. Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed Change
Enjoyed the writing style which is addressed on an important needed change for our global oil users. Read more
Published on February 22, 2009 by Joseph W. Wrobel
5.0 out of 5 stars Well versed. Clear & Concise. A MUST READ
This book is a must read for the right the left and everyone in between. It covers all bases, clearly explaining what will work and what won't. Read more
Published on October 21, 2008 by Jonathan Zucker
4.0 out of 5 stars Sacrifice for "Freedom From Oil"
I tend to steer clear and far away from any type of political book. My disinterest stems from the obvious bias and propaganda that these types of political figures tend to bring... Read more
Published on May 5, 2008 by L. Michalek
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting format and lots of information
Imagine that you are the next president and you want to make a major address about oil. You have all your advisors give you briefing papers and suggestions. Read more
Published on March 26, 2008 by John Thornton
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of hits, some misses
First off, if the US implemented an energy plan EXACTLY as described in this book, I think we'd be 1000% (yes, a thousand percent) better off than we are today in 10-20 years. Read more
Published on February 23, 2008 by R. J. McCabe
3.0 out of 5 stars Freedom From Politics is what's needed
In the heat of the 2008 Presidential campaign, voters in the United States think they are experts on what it takes to make a president. Read more
Published on January 31, 2008 by Tom Hunter
3.0 out of 5 stars The next President needs better technical advice!
Sandalow uses an innovative, fast moving approach to suggest future policy and legislative actions aimed at decreasing the US dependance on oil. Read more
Published on January 30, 2008 by R. Lightner
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