Friday, August 06, 2004

Book Review Time

beginning a new Liberal Thunderdome tradition - the monthly book review. just to warn our adoring readership, what you won't find here are esoteric hyperintellectual niche publications a la Josh Marshall. i'm not convinced even our big-brained fans want to read a 700-page history of pre-WWI ottoman diplomatic relations. in the thunderdome, we prefer books with broader appeal that will leave your cerebellum winded and maybe a bit sore, but never sprained.

to wit - paul roberts new 'the end of oil' has enjoyed startling media attention for a book on energy and the environment. bill mckibben has discussed it briefly in this fine review. the challenge of energy is the web of complexities and interlocking issues one faces when embarking on any analysis of the field. energy is deeply multifaceted, from the various sources to applications to infrastructure to debates over technology and finally the realities of environmental impacts. throw in the baffling questions of economics in a hyperdynamic international marketplace marked by exponential development in the southern hemisphere, and the issue approaches impossibility. roberts weighs in on this challenge with a careful, methodical approach that explores each facet to an intermediate, healthy depth for the layperson without allowing himself to immerse completely in any one issue. any one of the issues roberts takes on could have accounted for a book of its own, but instead roberts has written an authoritative integration of these issues - a primer for forward-looking thinking about energy in this new century. highly accessible and surprisingly linear for a subject of this nature, 'the end of oil' is the perfect read for students of global politics, economics and the environment newly opening their eyes to the absolute importance of energy in shaping our world.

- the humungus


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