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on September 21, 2008
Edwin Black, already an award-winning journalist and investigator for his previous books such as "IBM and the Holocaust" and "War Against the Weak", deserves an award for national service for producing his latest work "The Plan: How to Save America the Day After the Oil Stops--or Perhaps the Day Before." This book should shake up all Americans, and their political establishment, to wake up and take notice of the United States' peril. America has become dependent on foreign countries to feed its oil addiction.

Do Senators McCain and Obama have a Plan of their own to address the ramifications of a shortfall in supplies of petroleum to the US? Have they considered the potential chaos that would ensue in the US if the purveyors of oil come up short?

Edwin Black has certainly done his homework in accessing government documents, anonymous sources, and government websites. Just one of the possibilities Black points out is that should there be a military strike in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, the US would have to tap its Strategic Petroleum Reserve immediately. Within days, America would have to beg its allies to supply its oil habit. Given that President George W. Bush was unable to secure additional oil production from supposed-ally Saudi Arabia this year, it should be clear to most that the situation begs a solution.

Black is able to suggest a Plan to break the habit of oil consumption through a program that includes retrofitting vehicles and tapping into alternative sources of energy that will free Americans from dependence on countries such as Venezuela and Iran, which have made clear their geopolitical enmity towards the U.S. His latest book, The Plan, is alarming but should move Americans - and the current presidential election - towards discussing how technologies currently available and in development can be harnessed to free their country and start what could promise to be another Industrial Revolution.
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on November 11, 2008
Edwin Black opens the conversation we as Americans need to be having yesterday. There is no time to put off addressing the fact that our transportation $$$$ are going to countries who shout "Death to America!!". The only way for the US to remain a leader in the free world is to be free from the corrupting influence that being beholden for fuel causes. Buy the book.

I especially like the FASA, (Foriegn Agents Security Act) being applied to energy lobbyists, but I think it runs short. I say apply it to ALL lobbyists! Buy the book.

Invest in America. Buy two of these books. Keep one for yourself, (to lend out after reading), and send the other to your congressperson. If they get enough copies maybe they'll get the message. Wouldn't it be great if they started receiving 5 copies a day? 10 copies a day? 100 copies a day?!???!!! Then start emailing them and calling, inquiring if they received your copy. Buy the book.

With the car-makers coming to congress hat-in-hand looking for a bailout, now is the time, (Nov 2008), to make them build more efficient vehicles. A plug-in hybrid that runs on CNG, (compressed natural gas), is EXISTING technology. If you add solar power to a house, the cost of driving a car goes to a penny a mile! (or close enough.)

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more vital to the United States right now than energy independence, period. Our children's future rides on it. Buy the book.
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on February 21, 2010
I remember as a young boy reading Popular Mechanics magazine and there would always be a story of some students from a technical school that had developed a vehicle that attained 100 miles per gallon, and I wondered why we could not have cars which achieved those results. Having waited over 40 years , and seen the American auto industry improve little on fuel efficiency, I realize that government has not ' pushed in this area to allow / force this to happen. When President Kennedy stated in the early 1960:s that a man would walk on the moon before the end of the decade , resources were created that allowed this to become a reality.

The facts are clear that not only has the government not pushed in this area , but it has not allowed this to happen because of the strong lobbies of big oil and the auto industry .

Edwin Black in this short book outlines a ' plan'to get off of the addiction for oil, through the development of alternative fuel source vehicles. He outlines and demonstrates how vulnerable we are as a country to be shut down by hostile forces or events of nature which would cut off our supply of oil.

In this transition phase to alternate fuels he acknowledges the painful steps that must be taken to achieve oil independence, stressing that internal drilling or offshore production is similar to putting a filter on a cigarette,

The plan is a quick oveview , not a techical outline so the steps can be clearly understood by all readers. It is short , and very current and a quick one sitting read.

I have a feeling my granddaughter will be reading Popular Mechanics magazines about students who have developed 100 mile per gallon vehicles , and wondering why they are not in production; well the answer is not because there is not a
plan.

READ IT TO YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER
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on February 3, 2010
This is a very short little book that purports to be a plan for dealing with an oil crisis. The author lays the groundwork by introducing the precarious oil situation we find ourselves in and describing the potential for an oil crisis of one kind or another. He then lays out his plan by describing different stages of action that would have to happen from immediate rationing and curtailment of demand to longer-term projects to get off oil permanently. The book is chock-full of interesting bits of information and ideas that may be new to many readers. How many people have heard of the Naval Reserve or the idea of using ammonia as a fuel? In this sense, the book is very thought-provoking and eye-opening.

In spite of all of this, I have a few reservations about the presentation. First of all, there is a lot of hyperbole in the book. Oil certainly has the potential to create a great crisis and the oil and auto industries have certainly engaged in some amazing activities that almost demand hyperbolic language to describe. However, sometimes an important idea gets watered down by using such drastic language about everything. Second, Black sometimes comes across as sounding like a conspiracy theorist. Whether it be pointing out how American companies colluded with Nazi Germany or each other in forcing oil on the American public or how current car companies try to keep technology off the road, he paints a picture of powerful forces aligned against progress that even include the government in some cases. Finally, in spite of the fact that the book claims to be a plan for saving us from an oil crisis, by reading between the lines, it seems more likely that we cannot possibly avoid a crisis without miraculous action that seems basically impossible given the current political and economic makeup of the country.

I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the issue of energy, and specifically oil as it is related to transportation. My recommendation is based not on the fact that I think the author necessarily gets everything right or that there is even a remote chance his plan would be implemented, but rather because it has a lot of little gems of information many people may not have heard before and it genuinely makes you think about the way things work in our society. In many ways it's a frightening book, but there are hints of optimism, and in the end, the whole goal of the book is to suggest that it would actually be possible to deal with an oil crisis in a way that gets us off oil to a large degree in the end.
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on December 14, 2013
A great all-encompassing Plan that should be required reading for every citizen and politician in this country. What is stopping us from adopting this Plan now, BEFORE the gas runs out?
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on January 29, 2015
Everything by Edwin Black is superbly researched and detailed.
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on October 10, 2011
Black's book makes the case, quite persuasively I thought, that we need to plan ahead for the day when an oil crisis hits us (...again) and we are left high and oil-dry.

He then proceeds to outline a plan that, though not perfect, as he admits upfront, functions as a good starting point.

I just finished the Kindle version of this book, and have rated this book four stars, but this has more to do with Amazon's sloppy packaging. There is no table of contents, typos abound (many "i"'s are missing, making me think it was OCR'ed), and footnote numbers in this heavily footnoted tome are not hyperlinked.

For shame, Amazon.

The book itself would've been five stars. Nonetheless, there are a few omissions and blind spots. To wit:

1) No mention of aircraft at all. Why is this? He covers all manner of vehicles, trucks, boats, etc....

2) Black does not seem to ever really consider a very different tack: very high taxes on gasoline, perhaps with temporary vouchers for those who need vehicles for work and can prove it, but cannot afford higher gas prices. Even if this approach is not optimal, he should've addressed it, and outlined its shortcomings. In many contexts, sending a strong price signal is the most efficient way to influence markets.

3) Most importantly of all...he considers this to be an oil crisis. Presumably, however, it can just as easily be viewed as an *energy* crisis.

He states, several times, that "oil is fungible". Well, to some extent, so is energy. Switching our vehicles to electricity, CNG, hydrogen, etc will only stave off the real problem temporarily.

Perhaps this is all he aims at--getting us past the initial crisis. It would be good to state this outright as well.

Despite these shortcomings, this book is very good, bordering on must-read. Only, you might want to opt for the print version, for reasons given above.
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on May 14, 2012
Don't waste your money. Tis no book with a "plan". It's a pamphlet that contains a shallow listing of every possible source of usable energy other than oil, with none of the real issues, like cost comparisons. Certainly, we will eventually exhaust the world's oil and gas; all the cheap supplies are already pretty much gone, and that has devastated our economy. This book; however, offers no organized solution that could conceivably be called a "Plan". Hard to imagine how it actually got pubished. I think I'll start writing at night again.
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