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Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence" Hardcover – March 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"Bryce does a fantastic job of helping people understand the sheer magnitude of energy flows that would have to be replaced to attain energy independence, and conclusively makes his case that pursuing energy interdependence is a superior objective." -- New York Post, March 9, 2008

"In Gusher of Lies, Mr. Bryce mounts a savage attack on the concept of energy independence. [He] begins coolly, then heats up and eventually approaches core meltdown. . . . Land[ing] one telling blow after another.... Mr. Bryce gets to work demolishing cherished green beliefs about alternative energy sources ... but he is an equal-opportunity smiter.... He [too] goes after the political right. Fortunately, Mr. Bryce suggests that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. In the end, the hard-nosed Mr. Bryce reveals himself as something of a visionary and perhaps even a revolutionary. Power to the people." -- The New York Times, March 7, 2008

"Meticulously researched with copious facts-nearly all footnoted-this illuminating and sometimes witty work offers another view of the current state of energy." -- Library Journal

"[Bryce] carefully, gleefully throttles the meaningless rhetoric driving the cry for energy independence.... High-order muckraking and an excellent primer for addressing the real question: How are we going to handle energy interdependence?" -- Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Robert Bryce is one of America's foremost energy journalists. He is currently the managing editor of Energy Tribune and a contributing writer for the Texas Observer. The author of Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron and Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate, he lives in Austin with his wife, Lorin, their three children, and a hyperactive bird dog named Biscuit.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 371 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586483218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586483210
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,234,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

221 of 241 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth J. Malloy on February 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I no longer question my sanity. Robert Bryce's book, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence," provides THE much needed voice of reason in a cacophony of idiocy, ignorance, ideology, and isolationism.

I have been an energy policy wonk in Washington, DC for over 25 years, even founding and running energy policy think tanks for the last decade. Yet I found myself perplexed by much of what I heard being bandied about regarding energy policy. None of the public dialogue made any sense to me. Both Republicans and Democrats favored senseless interventions into energy markets, albeit for different reasons (R's for national security and D's for environment). The only thing the two parties could agree on was doling out pork to favored constituencies. Nearly everyone in public life embraced the ridiculous mantra of "energy independence."

I searched in vain for a hard hitting, top-to-bottom analysis of energy policy from a market perspective. Something Milton Friedman or Friedrich Hayek might endorse. I searched feverously for a book that would represent my world view. I found mostly apocalyptic screeds with titles like the End of Oil or Blood and Oil or Powerdown or Carbon War (about 35 such "sky is falling" titles are available on since only 2000).

It is against this gloomy backdrop that I read Bryce's Gusher of Lies. It is by far the best energy policy book in the last decade and that is because I am too lazy to go back farther. Bryce is a journalist and he explains his views in the easy to understand, down to earth manner that we expect from journalists. But unlike many journalists, he is amazingly comprehensive and detailed in his analysis.
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78 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Alison Spinney on February 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Unlike Kenneth Malloy, I am not an energy policy guy, I'm an ordinary, retired, novel-reading woman living on a sailboat -- using wind and solar energy i might add, (in addition to diesel when required). So, i represent the other end of the knowledge spectrum from Mr. Malloy. This book was fascinating. Mr. Bryce's writing style and wit provide a good and easy read even for the novice. I hope it's a best-seller, because that would mean that LOTS OF PEOPLE read the book. Never having read anything serious about energy, I was probably like most Americans and just believed that ethanol and other alternative energy sources were good things to spend money on. Mr. Bryce certainly opened my eyes. He takes an incredible amount of raw data and turns it into a down-to-earth explanation of what's right and what's wrong with the whole gamut of energy sources. And he goes one step beyond by discussing our Energy Policies, and how screwed up they are. There's nothing wrong with having dependencies on other countries. We already do in so many things anyway! As a nation, we REALLY need to get beyond this Arab/Moslem phobia. I mean, really, in the 21st century, with the world getting smaller and smaller, how can we EVER think that we could or should be indepedent suppliers of something so vital as energy. Besides, trade is good; Commercial relations with other countries are good. If Americans are so worried about our supplies of oil, then let them start buying smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles like most of the rest of the world. You don't see many SUV's in Europe. I am less optimistic about our congressmen and senators doing the rigth thing, however. Where there is an opportunity for "pork"(corn subsidies in this case), the greed and slime will spill. I love Mr.Read more ›
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Scrutinizing Consumer VINE VOICE on September 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"A Gusher of Lies" is a must-read for those wanting the cold, hard facts on the current state and future prospects of worldwide energy dynamics. Written by Robert Bryce, a fellow at the Institute for Energy Research and energy journalist and author for the past twenty years, "Gusher of Lies" is meticulously researched and footnoted (60+ pages of bibliography and references). It relies on numerical facts, realistic forecasts and opinions of key members of the scientific community to dispel any notion that the United States will ever achieve "energy independence" until another energy source/application, that does not currently exist, is invented. The alarming truth is the United States, along with every other developed country on the planet, are inexorably dependent on fossil fuels and will be for the foreseeable future.

While looking at the numbers, one should ask how "energy independence" has become such a dominant theme. Is it because the Middle East is evil and wants Westerners dead? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The oil behemoths of the Middle East need the West as much as, if not more than, we need them. Oil makes up ~7% of total U.S. imports but accounts for between 65 and 95 percent of Persian Gulf exports, depending on the nation. In the long term, economics tend to supplant all other factors. To claim energy independence will significantly reduce terrorism is a contrivance. While there is no denying that some Middle Eastern players have been linked to Islamic fundamentalists, most terrorist organizations are low-tech in nature and don't need oil dollars. Their financing has been found to come from drugs, human trafficking, weapons trading and other criminal activities.
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