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Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives Paperback – Bargain Price, December 10, 2007
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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.
<div><div> 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)
</div></div> --Publishers Weekly
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Top customer reviews
Mr . Black in this well researched book , illustrates why oil is our drug of choice, overtaking what at one time appeared to be much more regional friendly forms of energy , such as electric , and more recently hydrogen.
The blatant destruction of the electric trains , and the buying - out of
any prospect of the wide-spread use of electric as the source for powering personal vehicles is outlined thoroughly, as part of the reason that we are " energy hostages " to unfriendly forces are laid out in a concise manner.
The shame of the matter is that it is now apparent that those who concieved this plan , were aware of the limited nature of the resource that they had hooked us on.
We are now paying the price, literally , for this near sighted,
plan that looked more to fill the pockets of the creators, rather than to benefit the public.
Read this book , and you will see how we are in a "fix" that was preventable , and could have easily not have occured.
It is the frustration of finding out how close we were to not having it happen that is the
most eye- opening and aggrevating piece of this little known sequence
of events .
Once again Mr. Black discovers the truth , and leaves us to think how different our world would be if the greed for oil had been hampered
If climate change is the danger scientists say it is, the jury is out as to whether or not humans can respond meaningfully to the challenge. The stories in this book make me think not. Human greed is just too powerful.
Jared Diamond tackles that issue on in his work "Collapse". Some societies do respond and save themselves from grave challenges while others do not. "Internal Combustion" is all about private gain over public needs. And as long as corporations control our world our demise is assured. The US Supreme Court just put another nail in the coffin with it's latest decision on giving corporations unlimited access to buying politicians.
"Internal Combustion" makes it plain that public policy issues are not shaped by the facts, the science or the best interests of the public. Money and power will corrupt the process unless reasonable limits are imposed on the process.
I would say that the value of this work is that it presents case studies in the history of American energy and transportation development.
As to was there an industrial conspiracy against Edison and Ford in the development of a cheap electrical automobile, this book does not provide answers to the question that it hints about. Did major US corporations conspire to eliminate public transit in American cities? The answer there is clearer.
These questions are more important in the context of our world than when the events in question transpired. Electric or internal combustion was not as big an issue in 1914. However, an electric car was a more economical means of transportation if it could be made to be competitive with the gas engine. But corporations stood to make more money on internal combustion. Making more money is the recurrent theme in American corporate life. And "supersize" it. That will mean bigger tires, the use of more fuel and more parts? Oh yeah, find a PR angle to explain why this money making approach is in the interests of the customer.
This book should provoke thought about all of these issues.
Most recent customer reviews
Edwin did a great job researching the history of energy via litigation and news articles, revealing the lost treasures and dishonest practices of the fossil fuel...Read more