Power Trip: Book summary and reviews of Power Trip by Amanda Little

Power Trip

From Oil Wells to Solar Cells---Our Ride to the Renewable Future

by Amanda Little

Power Trip by Amanda Little X
Power Trip by Amanda Little
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Book Summary

After covering the environment and energy beat for more than a decade, Amanda Little decided that the only way to really understand America's energy crisis was to travel into the heart of it. She embarks on a daring cross-country power trip, and describes in vivid, fast-paced prose the most extreme and exciting frontiers of our energy landscape.

At her side we visit an offshore oil rig, the cornfields of Kansas, the Pentagon's fuel-logistics division, the Talladega Superspeedway, New York City's electrical grid, and laboratories creating the innovations of a clean-energy future. As Little explains, energy is everything: It grows our crops, fights our wars, makes our plastics and medicines, warms our homes, moves our products and vehicles, and animates our cities.

How did we develop this insatiable appetite for fossil fuels? Little travels through history to track the evolution of America's energy addiction: the 1897 installation of the world's first power plant (a Thomas Edison/J. P. Morgan venture); the 1901 Spindletop gusher that threw open the era of cheap American fuel; FDR's encounter with a Saudi king that set the stage for our dependence on Middle Eastern oil; General Motors' early decision to sell big guzzlers rather than small, efficient cars.

Little illustrates how abundant oil and coal built the American superpower—even as they posed political and environmental dangers to the nation and the world. More important, we learn how the same American ingenuity that got us into this mess can get us out of it. With next-generation candor and optimism, Little explores the most promising clean-energy solutions on the horizon, arguing that everything we know about our past teaches us that we can solve the problems of our future.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A thoughtful—if occasionally self-conscious—book that gives energy neophytes an accessible way to learn about fossil fuels and their fallacies." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Jargon-free and written with a fine eye for detail - one of the best books on America's energy crisis to emerge in recent years." - Kirkus Reviews

"Lively, engaging and most thought-provoking...Little answers the questions that perplex many - and, so importantly, identifies the key questions that only the future will answer." - Daniel Yergin, Pulitizer Prize-winning author of The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power

"Power Trip takes a most timely and complicated issue and weaves a fast, fun, and gripping story-one that's both candid and unflinching in its approach. Amanda represents the best of a new young perspective, a new voice of green." - Robert Redford

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Author Information

Amanda Little

Amanda Little has published widely on energy, technology, and the environment. Her columns on green politics and innovation have appeared in Grist.org, Salon.com, and Outside magazine. Her articles have been published in the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Wired, New York Magazine, In Style, Men's Journal, and the Washington Post. She is the recipient of the Jane Bagley Lehman Award for excellence in environmental journalism. She lives with her husband and daughter in Nashville, Tennessee.

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