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Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives Hardcover – April 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Black (IBM and the Holocaust) spins the history of oil's ascendancy to dominance over the global energy market into a sordid tale of conspiracy, deception and murder. This enthralling book begins in the vast forests of Cyprus, whose wood fueled the ancient Mediterranean, and extends through the Elizabethan era, in which the Hostmen guild of Newcastle exerted political influence by monopolizing the British coal supply. The central thread of this well-researched book, which draws upon a vast array of archival sources and an extensive list of secondary texts, picks up centuries later with the competition in the American automotive market between electric power and oil-fueled internal combustion. The definitive blow in favor of oil comes with WWI, which prompted increased demand for gas-powered vehicles at the very moment Thomas Edison and Henry Ford aborted plans to develop an affordable electric car. The decades-long "General Motors conspiracy" solidifies the demise of electrically powered mass transit in American cities. Through it all, Black manages to keep this complex history compelling. By the time the author makes his final, impassioned plea for a bold new solution to the world's energy crisis, he has already made his case with devastating clarity. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"By the time the author makes his final, impassioned plea for a bold new solution to the world's energy crisis, he has already made his case with devastating clarity." --"Publishers Weekly "(starred review)
A PAGE TURNER As usual, Edwin Black puts all his readers in his debt by his lucid, dramatic and thought-provoking discoveries. Internal Combustion is a story that should be read by everyone concerned about the strange realities of our modern world. An indispensable contribution to the story of oil and travel: the twin pillars of our modern dilemma. A true page turner. --Martin Gilbert, author A History of the Twentieth Century, Churchill: A Life and First World War
EXPLOSIVE. Edwin Black has produced an explosive, eye-opening exposé of the corporate forces that have for more than a century sabotaged the creation of alternative energies and vehicles in order to keep us dependent on oil. There is enough truth in this book to revolutionize our way of life. --Max Wallace, author American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich
Top Customer Reviews
In this latest investigation, Black goes back thousands of years, telling the history of fuel use and cartels, bringing life to mostly forgotten events. Black not only brings life to these events, but shows how enthralling well-told history can be.
IC then moves to the real meat, the saga of the bad boys of bicycles, electric vehicles, and the internal combustion engine. Black gives life to great names of the past - Edison and Ford, among others. The telling is vivid - one can picture the massive and suspicious fire that destroyed Edison's facilities and the electric future that went with those facilities.
Along with the book's heroes - people like Edison and Ford and companies like Honda - are the goats, like GM. Black meticulously dissects their activities in unravelling the electric trolley system - in a line by line, document by document, action by action telling of their massive conspiracy that is impossible to put down. (Flak jackets optional!)
After whacking the ethanol industry, Black identifies the transportation fuel of the future as being hydrogen, made from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Not suprisingly, Black's corporate hero for the future is Honda. And in an extremely insightful assessment, Black lauds Honda not only for their work on fuel cell vehicles, but more importantly, their Home Energy Center that is now in development.
I had the opportunity to see Black speak to the California Hydrogen Business Council at a book launch on September 15. Black is as good a speaker as he is a writer, and provided a few surprises. He is on a 300 event book tour right now, and I would urge you to see him speak in person as well as read the book. See Black's web site for list of tour dates.