Trying to understand all the issues involved in energy policy and production can be like drinking from a fire hose, but the authors of this introductory work—split into two volumes—do solid work in controlling the flow with good humor and a sensible approach.
In this first volume, energy-industry veterans Janardhan and Fesmire wisely limit their focus in the first volume to fossil fuels. They quickly discuss how it’s found and extracted, the various fuels made from oil and their uses and the associated political and environmental issues that have sprung up around it. In the later sections, the authors explore electricity, the ways it’s generated and transported across the national grid and energy policy at the federal and international levels, examining both the historical basis for many of the relevant laws and the newest technologies that are transforming policies and practices. Mostly avoiding dry, academic prose, the authors leaven the narrative with visual aids, well-chosen metaphors and, most importantly, a witty style that uses pop-culture references and a gently snarky tone to keep the prose informative but light. Many of these issues are serious, particularly in their long-term repercussions for humanity’s survival, but the authors carefully maintain a tone that acknowledges the gravity of many issues without losing their optimism and good-natured outlook. Although some readers may wish for a deeper examination of many of the book’s subjects, the authors succeed in providing an introductory primer to the complex and high-stakes world of energy production.Well-suited for academic studies and most general readers, the first volume of this work sets a high standard for other books on the subject.