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Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year Story of Solar Energy Hardcover – September 10, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; Revised Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608681327
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608681327
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Let It Shine is the solar bible. Thank you, John Perlin!”
Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute

“John Perlin is the historian of solar energy. He now takes the history back thousands of years to early Chinese architecture and the yang-sui, the little bronze mirrors boys used to start the family fire, to nineteenth-century inventors who feared that coal supplies were about to run out, to modern passive solar buildings and today’s falling costs and growing use of photovoltaics. He does all this with a penchant for the diverse characters along the journey and with remarkable illustrations that vividly capture the six-thousand-year story of solar energy.”
Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World and The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power

“With remarkable depth, breadth, and precision, John Perlin lays out humankind’s long reliance on the sun before the carbon era and points the way to a healthy, comfortable, productive, resilient solar-powered world. There is more intelligence and common sense in this volume than in all the federal reports on energy of the last quarter-century combined.”
Denis Hayes, former director of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute and founder of the Earth Day Network

“The authoritative background story behind the worldwide solar revolution, Let It Shine is a story of human ingenuity and perseverance told with clarity and depth. The next chapter is ours to write.”
David W. Orr, professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College and author of Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse

Let It Shine makes it abundantly clear that solar energy has a long and glorious past — a prologue, in fact — that is as bright and diverse as its future will be. Far from being a disruption of the current energy economy, solar power can be harnessed in thousands of ways, making it easy to embrace and integrate into our future, as this book brilliantly demonstrates.”
Daniel M. Kammen, distinguished professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley

Let It Shine shows how today’s renewable revolution builds on the tenacious efforts of countless generations of innovators whose vision we may finally be privileged enough to bring to full flower.”
— from the foreword by Amory Lovins, cofounder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute

Praise for A Golden Thread, the previous edition of Let It Shine:

“An absolute must-read.”
Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of Powering the Dream

“Western man has been using the sun’s rays for useful purposes since the days of ancient Greece, as this comprehensive, carefully researched, clearly written history of solar architecture and technology makes abundantly clear. The illustrations and diagrams that illuminate the text on almost every page are especially fine examples of modern graphic presentations.”
New York Times

“It is a humbling book. Handsomely illustrated and lucidly written, A Golden Thread is a rich mine of information.”
Los Angeles Times

“The history of mankind’s efforts to use the sun’s energy is a fascinating story, one told in a lively yet scholarly manner here....The triumphs and defeats of solar pioneers help us appreciate what a solar future may yet hold.”
Christian Science Monitor

“This book is sorely needed in the solar publication field, for although there are any number of how-to books on solar technology, few if any examine the history of this much-neglected energy source in any depth.”
Denver Post

“I just happened to be carrying A Golden Thread in my suitcase at Princeton. On my way home, I devoured it. Richly illustrated and thoroughly documented, it is a feast for the most critical historian’s mind and eye.”
Technology Review

About the Author

An international expert on solar energy and forestry, John Perlin has lectured extensively on these topics in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Perlin is the author of A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization as well as From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity. Perlin mentors those involved in realizing photovoltaic, solar hot-water, and energy-efficiency technologies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and coordinates the California Space Grant Consortium as a member of UCSB’s department of physics.

More About the Author

I am the author of four books: "A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology;" "A Forest Journey: Wood and Civilization;" "From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity;" and my latest book, "Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy." Harvard University Press Chose "A Forest Journey" as one of its "One-Hundred Great Books" published by the press, as well as a "Classic in Science and World History." The Geographic Society and the Sierra Club chose the book as their "Publication of the Year." "Power of the Sun" and "Sunrise" are two documentaries for which I did the screenplays. "Power of the Sun" was done in collaboration with two Nobel Laureates at University of California, Santa Barbara. John Cleese did the narration. Last month I trekked more than one-hundred miles exploring the vicinity of Troy while reading Homer's "Iliad." My proudest role - raising my boy, who is now in graduate school studying organic chemistry - as a single parent. Like Cheech, I was born in East LA.

Customer Reviews

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The book focuses more on theory than engineering.
TenBase
Let it Shine by John Perlin is a book that features the sun as an amazing resource that people have been using for thousands of years.
Sheri Newton
Great book for anyone who wants the real history in a great read.
A. G. Krakow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Meinhold on December 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great read. John Perlin has put together a fascinating set of stories and information about how humans have harnessed the sun's energy over thousands of years. The book is filled with facts, original drawings and descriptions of cool solar devices and the interesting characters who made them happen. An inspirational history of human invention as much as it is a history of solar power, you'll be sharing the stories in this book with everyone... "Did you know that...."

As usual Perlin has done a huge amount of research, and presents his material in an engaging way. Included photographs, lithographs etc really add to the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Krakow on December 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Who knew that solar energy was actually used 6,000 years ago? Who knew that the US Military still believes strongly in solar power?
John Perlin has not only done enormous amounts or research, but he's written a book that doesn't require a Ph.D in physics to read and understand. This book is fun, it's exciting, it's provocative and tells the real story of how our sun has been alternately loved and hated as an energy source. Wait til you see some of the documents that Perlin has unearthed! Great book for anyone who wants the real history in a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheri Newton on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Let it Shine by John Perlin is a book that features the sun as an amazing resource that people have been using for thousands of years. Solar power isn’t a new idea, in fact, it has been in use for over six thousand years (and probably much longer than that). Read this book to find out about how humans have been using the sun, and what to look forward to in terms of future plans, too.

Let it Shine is a very educational yet still interesting and relevant book about the sun, energy, and how people as a civilization have been using it. Before reading this book, I knew that using the sun was not a new concept. However, I didn’t realize that people had been putting it to such good use, even six thousand years ago. School doesn’t exactly teach us about all the cool things that it should, but thanks to books like this, we can learn fascinating details about mankind, civilizations, and new ways to look for the future of humankind.

I really enjoyed reading and learning so much from this book. I think that using renewable (and free) resources for energy is something that should be invested in much more than is currently being done. I also think that depending solely on a power grid is probably not the best idea countries can have. The move should be to have self-sustaining sources for families to utilize. Books and authors such as this only make me believe that more strongly. If you also feel this way, and want to learn more, I highly recommend that you read this book. I definitely recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Let it Shine, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pendragoneer on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Thank you Mr. Perlin for writing this great history book about humanity using the inexhaustible resource, our SUN!!

This book needs to be read in every classroom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neville Williams on July 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Let the sun shine on this amazing piece of modern scholarship by veteran writer, John Perlin, who more than any other has chronicled the long, fascinating and surprising history of solar energy, solar power, and solar design. Meticulous research has uncovered compelling stories of ideas, inventions, and technologies that have put the sun at our service for generations, but mainly in the past century. Perlin's easy to read narrative will tell you about the lives of dreamers, visionaries and practitioners who right up to the present have contributed to the creation of the solar age. While you will learn a great deal in this wonderful non-technical, non-academic book, the main thing you will come away with is understanding that there is nothing new under the sun.

Neville Williams
Naples, Florida
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TenBase on May 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an amazing book that spelled out the history and technology of solar energy in an easy to understand way. This is a great read for anyone interested in incorporating solar into building a home. The book focuses more on theory than engineering. The way the author ties together history with the topic of solar energy is excellent. Study history to learn from mankind's mistakes.
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