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  • Energy and Civilization

  • A History
  • By: Vaclav Smil
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 20 hrs and 9 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Energy and Civilization

By: Vaclav Smil
Narrated by: David Colacci
Free with 2 month trial

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

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Publisher's Summary

Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows-ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity - for their civilized existence.

In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts - from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering listeners a magisterial overview.

©2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (P)2018 Gildan Media
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Energy and Civilization

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

executive summary please!

A book containing some supremely important insights and concepts has, thanks to the author's self indulgence, turned into virtual water torture (with a little help from monotonous and pompous narration). Basically it is about 10 times as long as it really needs to be. If someone ever publishes a concise, executive summary, of the key concepts, I will eagerly return to it. Otherwise, never again.

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3 people found this helpful

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heavy but worth it

heavy but pairs well with Diamond's ' Guns, germs and steel. thanks for reading

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Engineers read

A great book if you love the numbers to lead your thinking. sometimes a little dry, but worth persevering. A lot of lessons and perspective to be gained. eg. who knew overshot waterwheels were so efficient.

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