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Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Energy, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future Paperback – Bargain Price, June 23, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This well-reported assessment of democracy manipulated by powerful federal, state and local insiders, and other not-in-my-backyard shenanigans surrounding plans for a wind farm five miles off Cape Cod, is certainly upfront about its bias. Williams, a former journalist-in-residence at Duke University, and Whitcomb, editorial page editor of the Providence Journal, jauntily champion the cause of energy entrepreneur Jim Gordon's "bold idea" to plant 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound—a project still snared in a regulatory maze as this peppery account went to press. The authors decry what they call fear-mongering by Gordon's well-funded opponents (2005 contributions: $3.3 million) and are particularly peeved by the obstructionism of Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose behind-the-scenes maneuvering is highlighted, as are the fulminations verging "on the incoherent" by environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr.—normally an outspoken opponent of coal-powered energy generation and a vigorous supporter of alternative energy sources. The Kennedys' stubborn opposition is shared by such moneyed neighbors as Listerine heiress Bunny Mellon and coal, oil and gas magnate William Koch, who are depicted as plutocratic bullies in this rambunctious, unsparing dissection of ruling-class abuse. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Cape Cod is a place of celebrated beauty and blueblood history. For such powerful and wealthy families as the Kennedys and Mellons, the cape's beaches are a treasured sanctuary. But because Massachusetts' population has grown, the state's aging power grid is under enormous pressure. Enter Jim Gordon, an energy entrepreneur who believed he had the perfect solution: an offshore wind farm. His 2001 Cape Wind proposal shocked and enraged Cape Cod's elite, and so began an epic battle that pits privilege against the common good in a stunning exposure of NIMBY (not in my backyard) hypocrisy. Journalists Williams, who lives on Cape Cod, and Whitcomb, who has family ties to the area, do a bang-up job of chronicling Gordon's tenacity in the face of the brazen machinations of various politicians, especially Senator Edward Kennedy and then governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This true-life tale of a blinding love of place, outrageously irresponsible propaganda, shameful congressional maneuvering, and egregious social injustice is half farce, half political thriller, and altogether compelling. As the fight rages on, Cape Wind serves as a harbinger of future conflicts as we reluctantly consider alternatives to oil. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (June 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158648575X
  • ASIN: B002GJU3PU
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,613,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark R. Whittington VINE VOICE on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cape Wind is a marvelous story of political hypocrisy on parade. When an energy entrepreneur proposed to build a wind farm to generate energy in Nantucket Sound, he did not bargain for the opposition of some of the rich and powerful who live and play in the vicinity. A small but powerful group of people, which include not only the Kennedy family but Mitt Romney, former governor and current candidate for President, are bound and determined not to have their view of the "pristine" waters around they summer mansions. Cape Wind would be a comedy, with its spectacle of Lear Jet liberals, who say they support clean energy in the abstract, twisting themselves into knot trying to justify opposition to clean energy just because it is in their back yard. But the book is all too true and mores the pity.
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Format: Hardcover
I love, love, loved this book. Cape Wind is a local issue for me and my eyes widened as I read the story behind the story as described by Cape Cod resident Wendy Williams. We citizens who are sympathetic to wind energy stood by in stunned silence as the opponents of the project slandered the project and its developer Jim Gordon. Even when we knew the assertions weren't true (like New England having a power glut), they raised doubts.

From afar, the coverage of the proposed windfarm on Nantucket Sound might seem balanced. In Massachusetts, however, it's apparent that the coverage is hysterical and a little irrational. When the windfarm was first proposed and an opposition group was created, this didn't seem different from any other large project. However, the opposition to the Cape Wind project combines money and emotion in an unprecedented way.

Cape Wind, the book, is the back-story of the opposition and the web that connects privileged property owners with one another, with elected officials, and with the flaks for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. In the middle of the web is Senator Edward Kennedy, with a great track record on every environmental issue except Cape Wind. It also provides previously unreported insight into the motivation of the project's developer Jim Gordon. Gordon's motivation for persevering with the project is more than a businessman's greed. The book describes him as being incredibly dogged, and genuinely environmentally aware, as well as being an entrepreneur.

Don't come to the book expecting a textbook on windfarm development, or much specific scientific or technical detail about the project. This is a story about one stubborn guy opposed by a stubborn group.

The characters are broadly portrayed in black and white.
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Format: Hardcover
If you ever wondered why our elected reps in Washington either can't get things done or only do silly things, this book will explain much. It's the story of an entrepreneur who wanted to build a wind farm off Cape Cod to supply lower cost energy to New England. Unfortunately, his wind farm, which should have been a natural for so-called progressive politicians, ran afoul of some big shots like Ted Kennedy and the Mellon family because it would interfere with their sailing in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind is the story of how the money people created obstacles and red herring issues to block the construction of the wind farm, and how the saga continues even after the rich folks were exposed by multiple journalists and more honest pols.

Former Mass governor Mitt Romney comes off badly, as does venerable ol' Teddy Kennedy, and I fervently hope that many, many voters read this book before the presidential primaries next spring. I always knew that money called the shots in our "democracy" but this book truly made me ill by offering one rather small example of how very true that really is.

I highly recommend Cape Wind to all readers who are interested in good government, and especially to Massachusetts residents who wonder why their electric bills are so high, their skies are so dirty, and their senior senator is so powerful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cape Wind is a factual account of the political and social conspiracy that continues to oppose an innovative and needed project. Having lived in a similar through-the-looking-glass world during the development of an energy project and grown up in Southeastern Massachusetts I was prepared to read about bad behavior by elected officials in opposing Jim Gordon's project. The authors have dug deeply behind the events to put the situation into its shocking context and in the process exposed selfish behaviors that were inconsistent with reasonable man's interpretation of public policy and achieving the greatest common good. Some politicians are exposed as fools, Kennedy family members like Ted and RFK Jr have demonstrated that this is their natural state, but Governor Romney's staunch unwillingness to reconsider his opposition to the project in light of compelling facts casts him in a very poor light.

The book is recommended reading, even if it does nothing else other than to increase the reader's skepticism when listening to candidates and officeholders blather on about energy independence when they have no clue about what it means or the tradeoffs involved.
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Format: Hardcover
I say it is just what you would expect from the "limousine" liberal set. People like Al Gore and Ted Kennedy preach ad nauseum to the masses about the threat posed by global warming and the obvious need for this nation to replace fossil fuels with clean renewable energy technologies. But then you discover that these very same people live opulent lifestyles with absolutely no regard to how much energy they use themselves. This hypocrisy has never been more apparent than with the opposition that developed when energy developer Jim Gordon proposed a wind farm on Nantucket Sound in the late summer of 2001. All of a sudden the elites and super-rich who summer on Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket thought that renewable energy might not be such a great idea after all. What it all boiled down to for these folks was the NIMBY syndrome (not in my back yard). "Cape Wind" is essentially the play-by-play of the down and dirty battle to prevent this project from ever getting off the ground. It seems that the well-heeled opponents of this project were willing to stop at nothing to see to it that this proposal would never see the light of day. Indeed, it is a sad commentary on our political system.
They were there from the very beginning. Co-authors Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb certainly were no strangers to Cape Cod. Both have deep roots on the Cape and were quite familiar with the players in this drama. Both Williams and Whitcomb were on the scene covering this fascinating story from its first days. They were present at the meetings of the concerned mansion owners and at town council meetings. They observed the extremely one-sided coverage given by the local newspaper the Cape Cod Times.
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