Donald Carr, whose books reveal a glutton's appetite for facts and a gourmet's talent for serving them up palatably, here surveys the world's energy problems. His early background as director of research for a California petroleum company explains his intimate knowledge of the industry. The first few chapters could be split off as a minibook--a brilliant, often scathingly funny account of the Big and Little Guys here and abroad: all you want to know about John D. or Gulbenkian, OPEC and oil depletion allowances, the evil genius of the Shah of Iran, and the machinations of Nixon and assorted others. Carr then deals in turn with every other major source of energy from coal and wind to the more esoteric laboratory dreams. He minces no words over what he thinks is feasible and what is not. (For example, he dismisses nuclear power plants as uneconomical, regardless of whether they are safe.) At times he sides with the environmentalists, at times he inveighs against them for raising false issues. He says many nasty things about Detroit, about sloppy workmanship and wasted brains. And positive things about the potential of a superflywheel, clever fuel cells, and an enzyme that can convert cellulose to glucose. Finally he speaks eloquently for a steady-state rather than a growth economy. This is a lively, deeply personal book, the righteous anger balanced by lucid expositions of feasible techniques.