An occasionally complicated but always informative look at the transformation of an industry over centuries.

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ELECTRICITY ACTS

A political and economic history of the nationalization and deregulation of the United Kingdom’s electricity systems.

American investment banker Hyman (The Water Business, 1998, etc.) builds on his body of writing about energy deregulation to offer a detailed look at Britain’s electricity industry from the invention of the generator to the present day. The book shows his deep research, but it’s also shaped by his personal connection as one of the bankers responsible for marketing shares in newly privatized U.K. utilities in the 1980s. The book follows the country’s electric companies from their municipal origins through nationalization, highlighting the many difficulties that the U.K. faced in standardizing supply and distribution across the country, the windfall profits of the privatization era, and the challenges of modernizing a system that has long relied on coal. There are also frequent comparisons to regulation and infrastructure in the United States, which will offer simple points of reference for American readers. Hyman is generally a proponent of free-market solutions, but he offers plenty of criticisms of how privatization was implemented and suggestions for equitable treatment of both customers and shareholders. Many tables and charts illustrate his points, and an appendix provides concise, coherent explanations of financial and scientific concepts for nonexperts. The book’s structure makes it feasible to track Hyman’s arguments across hundreds of pages; he highlights each chapter’s conclusions and provides a list of points to consider at the end of the narrative. Although the subject matter can be dense at times, Hyman has clearly mastered his subject, and he has an eye for intriguing details (noting, for example, that by 1949, only 150 of 155,000 utility employees weren’t part of a union), and he sprinkles his prose with pithy insights and memorable turns of phrase (“The UK could, also, openly re-regulate, simplify life for all and reduce electric company cost of capital but the odds of that happening are lower than a Papal nullification of priestly celibacy”).

An occasionally complicated but always informative look at the transformation of an industry over centuries.

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-910325-38-7

Page Count: 502

Publisher: Public Utilities Reports

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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