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Vapor Trails 8th ed. Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0615297477
ISBN-10: 0615297471
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Roger Saillant, Executive Director of the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at Case Western Reserve University, has held a number of senior executive positions in the energy and transportation industries. RP Siegel is an award-winning inventor, novelist, freelance journalist and environmental advocate.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sustainable Stories; 8th ed. edition (May 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615297471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615297477
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,669,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Keyser on July 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like surprises. Siegel and Saillant surprised me. I actually started reading Vapor Trails because Roger is a colleague of mine. I had no idea he was a novelist. I had him pigeonholed as a businessman and now an MBA teacher, like myself. I thought I owed it to him to buy and read the book. But presumptions are dangerous.

This is a really good novel. Not a great masterpiece of literature, but a really good novel, because it is well written, a page turner, informative, has believable and memorable characters--and having read the book, my view of life has been changed.

At the outset the story and the characters seem mundane, almost forgettable, but in the same way as one gets to know a person in daily life, small details of their behavior and their individual preferences become apparent as the story proceeds. The first page will not survive as one of the great fictional openings, but the ordinariness is interesting enough to bring the reader to the next page.

Then as the people and action become real, the reader finds himself learning about situations that, while known, now gain depth through an insightful view from another angle. We learn about Hurricane Katrina from the inside: the sudden furore of being unexpectedly caught up in the ravaging storm, as a participant, not as an observer. This leads us on to an inside track on business situations taking place behind closed doors, but having great impact upon daily lives.

The layering of events and the characters drew me on to believe both the story and the technical information. The latter is offered with a gentle touch that actually makes it interesting. This is one of the merits of the book and why it makes not only great reading, but also convincing activism.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book...a page-turning mystery-adventure of planetary proportions! It's both as an eco-adventure and an educational text rolled into one, making complex issues and conflicting interests come to the scale of real life through the chance convergence and intertangled storylines of its cast of characters. In print, this reminded me of the film Traffic, which did a great job of showing the chain of causes and effects...a great way to "connect the dots" from the viewpoints of us all being in the same complex system together. It's a story that broadens perspective while managing to combine the hot issue of global warming with some heated, steamy passages of very basic human experience. I hope this gains large readership, or better yet, gets turned into a movie. Well done! When's the sequel?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subject of Vapor Trails by R.P. Siegel and Roger Saillant intrigued me from the start. I've been looking for contemporary fiction novels with environmental themes, so when this one came across my twitter feed, I immediately researched it and then bought a copy. I wasn't disappointed with the read, although there is no middle ground with this book, which might have drawn in a wider audience. The book preaches to the choir rather than pulling converts to the green movement.

Vapor Trails enters into the bowels of corporate greed to the highest level of power. And power or energy at any cost to the environment and its people, is the heart of this story. The story is told from the viewpoint of three main characters: a corporate stooge, an environmentalist attempting to work within the corporate system, and a free spirit who rides his bike 2,500 miles just to attend a sustainability conference in New Orleans. Through the eyes of these three, the reader receives an education on oil and its damaging effects.

An unnamed hurricane in New Orleans causes water to surge and break through the levee system. This storm brings the odd trio of characters together when they are stranded at the sustainability conference. The storm is used to bring the key players together, but it isn't used in any useful way to make a comment about man's folly with playing with nature.

Also, it left me slightly annoyed that the three characters don't have to put up with the unpleasantness of the aftermath because helicopters and corporate jets zoomed down to rescue them out of the hellhole of southern Louisiana.

Mason Burnside, the corporate stooge, brought a lethal oil disaster to the rain forest in Ecuador though his cold-hearted decisions encouraged by his CEO at Splendid Oil.
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Format: Paperback
The issues of environmental sustainability, corporate responsibility, and the global impacts of our collective decision-making as a species can sometimes seem to dominate the news and government policy and politics. Most everyone is now aware the crisis that confronts us, and whether or not you believe we are close to an apocalyptic breaking point or think the the whole thing has been drastically overblown, you are almost certainly aware of it in some way. The problem with issues like global climate change, environmental responsibility, and geopolitical policy is that it all seems to be happening to someone else, somewhere else, or is so abstract and technical as to be unapproachable. Eyes glaze over, and we move on to some topic more easily understood and opined upon.

Now here comes Vapor Trails, the new novel by R.P. Siegel and Roger Saillant, which dares to educate while holding our attention and entertaining us with a page-turning eco-thriller. Siegel and Saillant bring their impeccable credentials in the field of environmental sustainability and prove to us that at least some policy wonks can turn a phrase and speak about serious global concerns in language accessible and even exciting to those of us without the benefit of their credentials.

Vapor Trails is fun while remaining an important contribution to the literature of sustainability. Setting many of the key characters into the events surrounding a Katrina-like disaster in New Orleans lets us know right from the beginning that although the novel will unfold across the globe and within corporate offices, that the effects of the decisions made by corporations and governments are never far from home, nor far from a reality we have all witnessed with our own eyes.

Vapor Trails is worth a read. It's worth your read. It is cinematic in its unfolding, and when it's a "major motion picture" you'll be able to say you were one of the first to read and know about this book.
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