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Showing 1-10 of 25 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 51 reviews
on March 16, 2014
As always, Edwin Black delivers a fascinating and overlooked story about our past. This one is about the electrical vehicles and how the stupidity of American people at the time coupled with the greed of corporate America (oil companies primarily) derailed the development of electrical vehicles (and trains and trucks) in USA, though, at the time, the US was the leader in those spheres. France, Japan, Soviet Union went ahead and ripped many benefits of electrified trains, but not the US. Anyway, don't want to give out too much info. Anyone who knows Edwin Black can attest to quality of his books.
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on July 19, 2009
There are usually reasons for every addiction , and our addict like demand for oil, has put us in the position to be controlled by countries who dispise us and our way of life.

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
years ago.
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on January 21, 2016
Very interesting read and learned so much about the history of the automobiles. Must read but very dry material that need to written in more interesting way. If you have strong desire to learn about the history then that will not matter.
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on December 6, 2013
You get the real reason America does not have public transportation as we did or as other countries do. Capitalism is good as long as greed is not entwined with it. Little known facts and some that even politicians would not like to be known or taught truthfully in history of our nations growth.
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on April 29, 2013
Informative book about a piece of automobile history of which we were never told. Battery-operated cars were back-burnered, then forgotten, as battery makers such as Delco and Remy turned their attention to the manufacture of electric starters for gasoline cars. However, "electrants" are making a comeback. Soon, they'll be everywhere!
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on February 24, 2016
Everybody on planet Earth
should read this book!
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on February 8, 2010
The content of this book is five stars. The poor editing is truly stunning.

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.
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on June 12, 2008
Although I haven't finished Internal Combustion quite yet, I'm finding it a lot of fun to read.

It's a great history lesson, and Black does a great job backing up every claim. This book will definitely excite you and piss you off at the same time, as you'll see how the little man and great American innovation is/has been fun to watch, while corporations and the individuals that are businessmen first, and innovators second, have done much to put us in the hole we're in today.
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on November 3, 2013
Excellent overall historical oversight and candid review of world current status as well as the frightening future we have created.
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on March 23, 2012
I am only half way through it and wow. it is kind of depressing but more insightful than anything. We need to change the world, stop letting money(big oil) make all the rules. please read this.
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