Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
“A sprawling story richly textured with original material, quirky details and amusing anecdotes . . .” —Wall Street Journal
“It is a cause for celebration that Yergin has returned with his perspective on a very different landscape . . . [I]t is impossible to think of a better introduction to the essentials of energy in the 21st century. The Quest is . . . the definitive guide to how we got here.” —The Financial Times
This long-awaited successor to Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Prize provides an essential, overarching narrative of global energy, the principal engine of geopolitical and economic change
A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize–winning book, The Prize. In The Quest, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change and conflict, in a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them.
The Quest tells the inside stories, tackles the tough questions, and reveals surprising insights about coal, electricity, and natural gas. He explains how climate change became a great issue and leads readers through the rebirth of renewable energies, energy independence, and the return of the electric car. Epic in scope and never more timely, The Quest vividly reveals the decisions, technologies, and individuals that are shaping our future.
The romance with fossil fuels that the author chronicled in his 1993 Pulitzer-winning The Prize sours in this absorbing survey of the global energy industry and its environmental discontents. Yergin opens with an entertaining account of the last two decades of the oil-industry soap opera, recounting the chaos in the post-Soviet oil industry, the roller-coaster of oil price bubbles and collapses, and the impact of China's voracious appetite on energy markets. Enlivened with piquant historical background and profiles of major industry figures, Yergin's treatment is a canny analysis of terrain he understands well. (His debunking of peak oil anxieties is especially trenchant.) The book's second half examines the rise of global warming politics and the energy sources proposed as alternatives to carbon. Yergin's coverage is evenhanded, encyclopedic, and readable, but his mastery of these complex issues is less confident; his tour of renewables, from wind to cellulosic ethanol and algae, lacks depth and sometimes repeats boosterish claims, while his chapter on energy efficiency focuses more on green gadgetry than on lifestyle patterns. Yergin's perceptive, entertaining guide to the muddled quest for secure and sustainable energy lacks a systematic vision of how we might or might not get it. Photos.