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Books: April


A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

Robert Bryce, PublicAffairs, New York, NY, $24.95, 352 pages, Mar. 2020, ISBN: 978-1-610-39749-0


It is no longer guns, germs, and steel, but electricity that determines the fate of people and nations. Global demand for power doubles every 20 years, while electricity remains one of the most difficult forms of energy to reliably supply. Nearly half of the world’s population live in areas where per-capita electricity use is less than that of an average refrigerator. Closing the gap between the electricity-rich and electricity-poor will affect the success of movements related to women’s rights, inequality, and climate change.

Through onsite reporting from India, Iceland, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, New York, and Colorado, this book tells the human story of the world’s most important form of energy. The author highlights the factors needed for successful electrification and explains why so many people are still in the dark. He argues that our energy needs cannot be met solely...

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