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Who Turned Out The Lights?: Your Guided Tour To The Energy Crisis    by Scott Bittle order for
Who Turned Out The Lights?
by Scott Bittle
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Who Turned Out the Lights? is a book that should be read by every American. Of course, the energy crisis affects everyone in the world, but Americans seem less concerned as a nation than people in many other countries. Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson have managed to explain the situation in a way that's not only easy to understand, but also humorous, a fact that makes the book readable without putting you to sleep.

There are a lot of complicated issues involved in the energy crisis, and trying to keep up with the problems and their proposed solutions by reading the newspaper and magazines can be difficult. Frequently the complexity causes your eyes to glaze over, and you find that you've read a whole paragraph or two without any of the information getting through to your brain. Also, much of what's presented on television leans so heavily one way or the other that a discerning person wonders about both sides. This book isn't like that at all.

The book starts with an overview of why it's important to change the way we produce our energy, a fairly serious chapter that goes over the energy blame game as well as wondering what will happen in China as their economy improves so that more people can afford cars. There is a recap of earlier problems with gasoline shortages caused by our dependence on imported oil.

We learn in subsequent chapters about the latest information on nuclear power plants, as well as what kinds of fuel are used by power plants in different parts of the United States. I was amazed to see how many nuclear power plants there are on the East Coast, and also learned why solar and wind are being developed more in the West. Overall this seems like a positive book which is more interested in informing than promoting one solution over another. The authors, for instance, tell us where we get most of our imported oil. Oil and coal are presented as the biggest offenders as far as carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, but forest fires are shown to be huge problems, also.

In short, the U. S. isn't the only one who needs to worry about the energy crisis or pollution, but as one of the biggest users of fossil fuels, we have a large role to play in the solution to the energy crisis. It will be to our advantage to find alternative fuels, too, because fossil fuels aren't going to last forever, so whether or not they cause global warming, we should be taking more action to find other ways to heat and cool our homes and run our transportation. I enjoyed reading this book for the information and the non-judgmental way in which everything was presented. I will keep it handy as a reference guide when I'm being inundated by news stories leaning heavily toward one solution or another.

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