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

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Power Trip is an adventurous, wonk-free, big-picture, solutions-oriented narrative by leading young journalist Amanda Little that maps out the history and future of America’s energy addiction. Infused with next-generation candor and optimism, Power Trip examines the ways in which oil and coal have shaped America as an international superpower—even as they posed political a ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Harper (first published 2009)
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3.89  · 
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 ·  113 ratings  ·  25 reviews


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Jason
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Yikes America! We really are bent over a barrel of oil. You and I already know this, but it's good to be reminded, not by shrill voices on TV or worthless politicians on the campaign trail, but by a good 200-level primer on America's energy crisis. Power Trip is a solid, current, balanced book on the crisis. Amanda Little provides a comprehensive review of our dependence on petroleum, coal, and natural gas. In the first of 2 Parts, she underscores our sickening dependence on oil, in all its rami ...more
Shinynickel
Oct 03, 2009 marked it as to-read
Off this review:

Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells—A Ride to Our Renewable Future
By Amanda Little (HarperCollins)
At first blush, it seems like weaning ourselves off fossil fuels won’t be terribly hard: Swap that clunker for a Prius, that old lightbulb for a CFL, and that plastic bag for a sturdy tote. But, as veteran journalist Amanda Little reveals in this sweeping account, there is almost nothing in modern life untouched by oil and coal. To tell the story of America’s epic entanglement
...more
David James
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Power Trip" may not be the most comprehensive or technical book on energy issues, but it is one of the most broad reaching, upbeat, and fair minded. Amanda Little offers a solid overview of our harnessing and use of energy evolved over the past 150 years or so, explores both the benefits and costs of these developments, and covers a wide range of emerging ideas about how we can move forward with improved efficiencies, new technologies, and the use of renewables.

Little's persistent accentuation
...more
Priscilla
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting and informative look at the US energy industry, consumption and habits, and new technologies. We don't realize how pervasive oil and petroleum byproducts are in our lives, nor do we really have a grasp how at risk our current power grids/systems really are--and I don't mean from terrorists, but from overuse and neglect. This book was published in 2009, and if our current government leadership were different, ideas covered in this book this would have read like a very plausible, high- ...more
Tin Wee
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting exploration of the rise in importance of oil in our life - going beyond just energy and transport, its derivatives form an integral part of almost every consumer good available today. The book explores how various sectors in America (and by extension the rest of the world) are trying to wean themselves off oil, and the various developments in green technologies in building, transportation, etc. But the author is right that this green movement must move out of America to the rest o ...more
Claudia Goodyear Fett
Lots of food for thought in this well researched book, written by journalist, Amanda Little. Amanda Little takes the reader on a fast paced journey to map out the history and future of America's energy addiction. Ms. Little travels throughout America to observe energy sources and interviews key people, to bring us insight into the issues that we face in our dependency on energy. "As Little explains, energy is everything: It grows our crops, fights our wars, makes our plastics and medicines, warm ...more
Butch Byers
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
A series of interesting stories about America's energy addictions...oil, the military's dependence on oil, plastics, cooking oil, the extended food transportation chain. But its a little unfocused, whereas Oil on the Brain (the oil industry vertical chain), Powering the Dream (renewable energy), and Bottled Lightning (battery tech and lithium in particular) benefit by comparison because they were more focused and had a more central message.
David
May 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
An environmentalist friend of mine recommended this book, and I gave it a shot. I couldn't finish it - I got too turned off by the early chapters which were (depending on your viewpoint) woefully incorrect or merely overcome by events (i.e. declaring firmly that there won't be any more major oil finds on land, when earlier in 2012 the US discovered vast land-based oil reserves). The rest of the book may be good, but I didn't stick around to find out.
Eskay Teel
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I searched for this book specifically to give it a 5* rating.
I've actually bought this book for other people as well - because I was so impressed with it.
Every chapter was full of information and I kept wondering how she could continue with such clarity and intrigue... but she did... all the way to the end.
The facts and background laid out in the book made such an impact on me that I've never looked at mainstream news the same again.
It's all about oil.
Mason
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's a quick, easy read, and a good introduction to the big issues facing the U.S. as it tries to wean itself off oil and boost renewable energy. If you don't know much about energy, or aren't convinced that we need to change our ways, this is a good place to start.

Overall the tone is light and optimistic. It doesn't shy away from the big challenges. But it also doesn't delve much into the politics or psychology that's been holding back progress on making this transition.
Craig
Another solid entry into the history of renewable energy category, but also includes a little more of a journey across America approach where the author profiles communities, individuals and organizations that are embracing the energy independence movement. In fact the book probably leans more towards the latter element than the former, but it was an enjoyable read.
Joshua
Apr 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
I should have given up on this book when, at about page 45, the author wrote, "The current imbroglio in Iraq, I learned through my research in 20th century military history, was hardly the first war caused by oil."
Laurie
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
I loved this book.So many cool stories about America's oil history.Many of her chapters deal with politics but she remains bipartisan in her attitude.The Power Trip educated me,inspired me and gave me hope.
Jade
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Not only does the book provide the history of how U.S. has come to dependable on fossil fuels to allow our society to function, but also outlines what new technologies that are beginning to emerge that will replace fossil fuels. Excellent read.
Emily
Nov 11, 2010 rated it liked it
This filled in some of my energy blanks, but I was hoping for something a little more technical.
Chris
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well researched, great writing, and very informative. Along with "Hot Flat and Crowded," this is the best environmental book I have ever read.
Jen Canova
Oct 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
I was able to get through one chapter before I finally gave up. It is a interesting subject but is way to long and detailed. It will definitly put you to sleep!
Michael
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
easy to read, great narration of many aspects of the USA's energy landscape
Daniel.j.g59
Jun 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really informative and eye opening report on our lives' dependence on oil. Interesting who are the movers and shakers of the renewable energy movement.
Clare
Jul 01, 2010 marked it as to-read
I just read "The Lorax" to my kids last night.
Srikanth
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very good read that mixes history, geography, technology and a bit of futurology. Simple but has an impact on the thinking man.
Liz
Jul 14, 2010 marked it as to-read
reccomendation from DailyCandy
Tom Armstrong
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really interesting look at the past, present and future of energy and energy consumption in the united states.
Cindy
Oct 05, 2010 is currently reading it
Very reader friendly and informative.
Robert
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Sort of an low level Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. I enjoyed it, but it was not compelling. The idea is that slowly people are buying into the energy shift/revolution.
Matt
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Jan 14, 2011
Richard
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Nigel Fellman
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Amanda Little is a professor of journalism and Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. Her reporting on energy, technology and the environment has taken her to ultra-deep oil rigs, down manholes, and inside monsoon clouds. Amanda's work has appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and elsewhere. She writes, bikes, and is learning to cook and tango in Nashville, TN, w ...more