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The Human-Powered Home: Choosing Muscles Over Motors Paperback – November 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716018
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tamara Dean is a technical and environmental writer who lives in Wisconsin, where she and her partner David human-power their grain mill, blender, coffee grinder, and assorted electrical gadgets.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on June 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book's illustration are very poorly drawn, distorted, distracting, confusing and not to helpful. The photos are also too few and do not show enough detail. The book seems like a slick marketing tool since it keeps referring you to visit certain website for more info, and some of those website charge you a fee for the info. Then there are whole chapters devoted to off the shelf expensive human powered tools for example $1,899 for a bike powered blender . In a few years those website may not be around providing the info - then what ? When discussing lawn care the book disregards the very practical and affordable scythe and instead devotes 3 pages to expensive reel mowers that are finicky about the height of the grass/weeds, the thickness of the grass/weeds and the lay of the land.
For example - was hoping to find plans for a pedal powered washing machine - what I found was how to take a modern style washer and convert it to bike power. But suppose you want to make a washer from scratch using drums and such - no info on that. What about the spin cycle - no luck here either. What about a human powered winnower - no plans.
I have been "green" for decades and I what is sickening is watching capitalism highjack the movement. It almost seems that if you want to be green you have to move to a "third world" country to be able to access affordable appropriate technology because in the USA it will cost you an arm and leg to get it.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Book Wookie on March 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Good overview of the history of foot pedal & hand crank devices, & what is being used again today in our times. For example, foot pedal sewing machines, lathes for cutting, emergency radios, etc. Also how to generate some of your electricity needs by foot pedal power. Borrowed this from the library & then decided to buy my own copy. Plenty of references in it for further reading also.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Royal Writes on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will definitely keep this book in my collection. I would have liked more diagrams of parts for construction of more things. The construction descriptions were great and useful. The Vitagoat is prototype #2 from the Rodale Press "Pedal Power" book from 1977. (still available from Amazon)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By hamamelis on June 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
..for anyone who wants to understand more about pedal powered and other human powered devices. I was looking for this book thirty years ago, but it hadn't been written yet!

This book is excellently written. It is both readable and complete. This year, I taught a group of middle schoolers how to adapt a bicycle to generate electricity. This book helped me to prepare my course work, and I hope to use it again to teach kids about intermediate technologies and their use in the carbon-free, nuclear-free future.

I plan to build more pedal powered devices, and this book will be my first and most essential reference.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mpellet771 on September 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved that the book told me all about different human powered events all over the world, and the description of how electricity is made was basic enough for me to understand. However, all of the devices suggested in the book involve bicycles. Maybe it's true that it takes a pedal to make something run or make electricity, but I was thinking of other ways to power things.

The book is very well written and friendly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bria Fleming on February 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is fun and empowering! Full of interesting history, with good clear directions and diagrams for all the projects. Living in a rural area with spotty electricity, these contraptions have saved me so much time and grief!
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By NY Giants fan on April 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good detailed instructions to help you decrease dependence on the grid. I am just not there yet and have little space for a bike to power some of my things.
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