Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence"
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Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence"

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Everybody is talking about “energy independence.” But is it really achievable—or even desirable? In this controversial, meticulously researched book, Robert Bryce exposes the false promises and political posturing behind the rhetoric. Gusher of Lies explains why the idea of energy independence appeals to voters while also showing that renewable sources like wind and solar...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by PublicAffairs (first published January 11th 2008)
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Don
Jul 15, 2008 Don rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that uses energy!
Recommended to Don by: Michael Medved
Shelves: current-events
Want a good primer on the energy situation? Read this book.

The chapter on Ethanol alone is worth the read.

Anyone that does not know what is covered in this book should keep quiet about our energy problems. After you have read "Gusher of Lies" you will be educated on this important topic.
Good job Robert Bryce!
Tim
This is a nicely done polemic. I'm sympathetic to any writer who attempts to challenge the norm, especially when it comes to national comfort, cherished myths, etc. I like the softer, narrative versions of polemics better, such as Orwell's Animal Farm, or Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath, etc.

The author wins my heart right off by zeroing in on politicians who are the most susceptible of all in promising comfort (energy independence) in return for votes-power I assume. Bryce's Introduction is titl...more
Mark
Excellent, excellent book. I would give this book to anyone who told me about "Energy Independence." Look at your clothes, they are probably from China, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc. Your car is probably from Ohio, Japan, Mexico, etc combined. That's not a problem, that's globalization. It is also a reflection of specialization, and should be lauded not lambasted. Those who push for alternatives, of the current stock, have no concept of the energy market that we currently function in. Nor do they ha...more
Rod
Bryce makes the case stated in the subtitle. Along the way, he thoroughly debunks the hyperbole associated with alternative energy. Corn ethanol, for example, is essentially a scam, requiring as much energy to produce as it yields. Its presence in the US economy is due only to the political clout of farm giant Archer Daniel Midlands, and associated politicians and lobbyists. Solar arraies similarly don't offer a solution-- energy density is just too low. Hard to understand how many of our elites...more
Jeff
Nov 20, 2008 Jeff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in energy or foreign policy.
Have to say a big thanks to Lara for recommending this book. Wow.

I really enjoyed this one. It's a pretty eye-opening look into the idea of 'energy independence'. What the term actually means, the political usage, and the ultimate absurdity of it.

I think the most educational part of the book for me was the corn ethanol scam, because that's really what it is. A scam. It's amazing what we as taxpayers are shelling out billions of dollars for.

I am not going to do an exhaustive review here, because...more
Adrian Hart
One of the best books I've read this year. The author puts forth a compelling argument why American energy independence is at best a pipe dream, and even if it were possible, it would do nothing to stop international terrorism or global warming. It also devotes an entire section to the discussion of alternative energy sources (including a fairly lengthy chapter on ethanol and biofuels, the single longest chapter in the book by a long shot), concluding that at the present time the human race does...more
Dennis
This is a must read in order to provide balance in one's understanding of the energy situation in the U.S. This author does a well documented job of debunking the rhetoric and downright falsehoods surrounding the issues of energy supply and its alternatives and oil independence. It is clear to me that our government and its leaders are misleading the public on the subject of energy independence in order to push their agendas. We are wasting billions in subsidies to industries that do nothing to...more
Howard Olsen
Ignore the dramaqueen title and you will find a sober look at American energy policy and the recurrent calls for "energy independence." Bryce's message is that America should seek energy diversity, not independence (what happened to free trade?). That means expanded American drilling/exploration, ramped up nukes, and an admission on the part of American Greens that their preferred energy sources are no match for the power available in a barrel of oil. That also means an end to ethanol subsidies,...more
Marcus
I read the first ~150/200 pages of this book before we moved and I had to return it to the library, but even that much was enough to completely change the way I view the global energy situation and the popular quest for "energy independence."

Especially during elections when it seems every candidate has a plan for energy independence, this book is an eye-opener. It has solid factual evidence (as well as a lot of interesting speculation and analysis) on the current energy situation and why energy...more
Amy
Incredible. I thought I was educated on the oil industry and alternative fuel. Boy, was I wrong! This book explores the legitimacy of energy independence and the cold, hard truth about US and its relationship with the Middle East. Although the book depressed me a bit and made me angry, it was eye-opening. A definite must read for everyone. I have read two of Robert Bryce's previous books, Cronies and Pipe Dreams, which were also great, especially Pipe Dreams about the Enron debacle. Bryce uses c...more
David
Jul 17, 2008 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: peak oil people and people that care about energy and energy policy
A good book dispelling the often politicized idea of energy independence. I would say I have a slightly differing opinion and I think he fails to make a serious case regarding the economic implications of our current energy independence, but he clearly points out that globalization of energy markets is a good thing. Also thoroughly discusses the idiocy of using ethanol as a fuel source - it's about time someone did.
Covers a number of interesting topics and is worth a read - though get it from th...more
David
Meh. An interesting take on energy politics, and a level of detail that's cool, but there are some giant holes in his arguments. It was good to hear the critiques that people have towards various forms of alternative energy, but the idea that we have no viable alternative to oil seemed based on unnecessarily sketchy math. All he ever did was point out how existing technology wouldn't scale sufficiently by itself, when no one's proposing an all-wind or all-ethanol approach to anything.
Maggie
Adding ethanol to gasoline increases auto emissions - increasing ground-level ozone. So, in addition to increasing the cost of fuel and food, it's increasing pollution that is known to cause damage to lung tissue.

Besides Archer, Daniels, Midland, who thinks this is a good idea?
Jim
You have to be in the mood for some good public policy nonfiction surrounding energy policy. This guy knows his stuff. He does let a little sarcasm creep in, but the entire thing still feels very objective. Note the date: the book is ~7 years old. But I still learned a ton.
Converse
Densely referenced book on U.S. energy sources, consumption, sources, and future prospects. Concludes that alternative fuels (biomass, solar, wind, etc.) will contribute little to energy supplies & that government should have less involvement with the energy market
Amy
The factual information was certainly interesting, but I don't agree with all the author's suggestions, as many of them still entailed certain types of government interference. Also, this is one of those books that is probably better to read than to listen to.
Joshua
This book should be required reading for anyone who uses the term "energy independence" or touts ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. This book doesn't have a political slant - just the facts, and they're amazing.
Doug J.
This book real opened my eyes to the myth of biofuel, and namely ethanol. I didn't realize what a rip-off the ethanol lobby is and how much its costing in food prices and air quality.
Anton Manyak
Very powerful book. Well reasoned/argued with lots of statistics and information. I don't completely agree with his solutions (some of them are too right for me)
Christy
Having trouble getting past chapter 3. Seems to be spiraling around same story/argument. Plus it's depressing. Sort of like when I watched www.storyofstuff.com
Jason Arant
This book is a total eye opener about the dishonesty of the debate over energy on both sides of the political aisle.
Katie Kenig
This is one that was selected by my book club and I ended up not finishing it, because it put me to sleep.
Bill
Eye opening book on the political rhetoric used around 'energy independence'.
Rowdy
A must read for anyone interested or involved with the Energy Debate.
Lara
Oct 22, 2008 Lara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lara by: Matt Goodman
This is a must read in today's energy crisis environment. There is no quick fix and new technologies that are going to make a real difference in our dependence on oil form overseas are not on the horizon.

A well research and thought out book. The information is at times a little scary, but well worth reading. It pays to become informed during times such as these.
Steve
Steve marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
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Robert Bryce has written three books, his newest being Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of Energy Independence. He was hailed as a 'visionary' by the New York Times, a fact he often repeats to his children and his dog, Biscuit.
More about Robert Bryce...
Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron Cronies: Oil, The Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong

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