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Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  34 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the major energy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere and civilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density and energy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetic ...more
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Published January 1st 2008 by MIT Press (MA) (first published December 21st 2007)
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Nick Black
Jan 29, 2009 Nick Black rated it it was amazing
Shelves: likely-reread
updated 2009-01-29 15:43:27 EST: not finished yet, but will be after classes. wow, wow, wow, this book is so incredibly awesome and touches me so deeply. why isn't vaclav smil president of some major nation (and what's up with Czechoslovakia having so many presidents named vaclav?)? BECAUSE HE'S TOO DAMN BUSY BEING THE FINEST SCIENTIFIC AUTHOR IN THE WORLD, THAT'S WHY. this book is so dense with beautiful, connective information as to make me sing. you can find the preface online; i urge you (al ...more
unperspicacious
Mar 07, 2011 unperspicacious rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, energy
This is an ambitious but accessible introduction to a holistic anatomy of energy flows in both the past and present. It is also, I think, a good entry point into Smil's vast collection of energy-related books, if one is not sure where to begin.

Smil has a great gift for explaining a plethora (and I mean plethora) of technical concepts in a lively, clear and concise manner to the non-technically trained reader. There are boatloads of numbers and figures in the text, but these have been inserted m
...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Vaclav Smil has been writing on energy for some time. A subject like energy is a systems topic with lots of stats and charts about energy use, production and growth and change. For people who are interested in the physical patterns of earth and human civilization they will get much from this book which places our lives, our communities, politics and way of life in the context of greater physical transformations and forces. It is not a bodice ripper but can be enlightening and pleasurable to see ...more
DJ
Jan 22, 2010 DJ marked it as to-read
treatise on how energy drives all (and surprisingly has been misappropriated by new-agey crackpots)
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Vaclav Smil does interdisciplinary research in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment, and public policy.

He has published 35 books and more than 400 papers on these topics. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy), and the
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