Energy And Civilization A History Pdf

energy and civilization a history pdf

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Review of “Energy and Civilization” by Vaclav Smil

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Energy and Civilization by Vaclav Smil. A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization.

Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrop A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization.

The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel—driven civilization.

Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts—from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment.

Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions 9. Friend Reviews.

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More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Energy and Civilization: A History. Feb 06, Mario the lone bookwolf rated it it was amazing Shelves: 0-humanities. The book covers each aspect from ancient times, fire, energy in form of stored food, forging until the more modern approaches and shows how the combination of different technologies enabled us to go from the primitive beginning of fuelling ourselves with nourishment to enable us to tinkle with fusion and includes aspects of other natural sciences to form a super read.

As an interdisciplinary scientist, Vaclav draws an astonishing, metascience picture of Big History that opens up so many questions The book covers each aspect from ancient times, fire, energy in form of stored food, forging until the more modern approaches and shows how the combination of different technologies enabled us to go from the primitive beginning of fuelling ourselves with nourishment to enable us to tinkle with fusion and includes aspects of other natural sciences to form a super read.

As an interdisciplinary scientist, Vaclav draws an astonishing, metascience picture of Big History that opens up so many questions, both on possible developments, alternative developments and uchronias that depended on coincidences and how technology and resources, and not the humans, formed human history. Not the machines, that can be built by any state as soon as the economic and technological circumstances allow it, but the extreme advantage of any state that has invested energy in building its infrastructure and industry hundreds of years earlier than others.

That race is impossible to win if one enters it too late. Of course, there could be brute-force attempts with primitive technology in vast scales to produce as much or even more energy than someone with advanced tech, but the uselessness and short-time thinking of wasting huge amounts of government funding in any technology with an expiration date, or even an outdated or dangerous technology, instead of investing in alternatives, improvements, innovations, and research is obvious.

I mean, who would, lol, you certainly rofl know what I facepalm mean. Even a tiny population of just a few million that has the luck to be the home of the genius that understands or engineers may be unbeatable overnight, because all that energy can be simply used for warfare too.

Or, in a closer and more realistic future, to enable everyone from a family home to a community and a state to be independent because of abundant available, alternative physical and biological energy forms. A big difference to a history in which the good or bad luck of natural resources and technological development defined the wealth and power of a nation.

There are fascinating concepts about how anything from suns to black holes over all kinds of stars and space anomalies could be used, farmed and created to get endless energy in scales so huge to build anything, megastructures, habitats, whole planets, the creativity, and imagination are the only limits. It is highly specific and detailed, the book covers any aspect possible and so some skimming and scanning may be appropriate.

View all 3 comments. Jul 27, Charlene rated it it was amazing Shelves: climate , physics , general-science , innovation , ecology , biology , evolution , economics , history , chaos-complexity-emergence. Now that I am done reading this book, I plan to start at chapter one again. My head was filled with so much information, I am positive my brain has not yet ingested nearly the number of treasures packed in this book.

Smil does not gloss over facts or tell a story in the way many historians do. In this book, you will not find the kind of sweeping histories told in the captivating way Yuval Noah Harari brings to life in his book sapiens. Smil is not that kind of story teller. Telling the story Smi Now that I am done reading this book, I plan to start at chapter one again. Telling the story Smil has told in his book, many historians might say something like: How did humans build civilization?

By using every ounce of energy they could get their hands on. Throughout history humans have used the energy stored in horses, in slaves, and in the machines they built.

They stole energy from the sun a lot of it , gaining them a share higher than seen in any other species. Humans harvested energy from the wind and water. They mined it from holes in the ground and sent it along railroads. From the dawn of civilization, humans coupled the energy from the sun, wind, and water with the energy ATP from the cells that reside in all living organisms like slave and animal muscle to build each aspect of civilization.

Using this energy, in its various and wonderful forms, humans built villages, cities, and huge warring empires. They built food systems that fed and sustained incredible amounts of humans.

Using energy, they built transportation systems to create a trade system that took on a life of its own and has transformed early humans into the modern humans of today. With that energy, they brought about the industrial revolution that gave humans more resources than they had ever imagined possible. In order to set the stage for such a revolution, humans needed to stockpile a lot of energy along the way. Before the use of slaves and before the use of animals and machines to do work, humans spent all of their time harvesting just enough energy from nature to survive.

That is to say, they were foraging for food, spending their energy roaming around, eating food to gain more energy to keep roaming around for food, and so on, using all the energy gained to keep the cycle in perpetual motion. No energy was left over for innovation. No energy was left over to build the great empires and cities that would be long in the future.

Everything changed once humans switched from hunter gatherer strategies to trapping all that food in a smaller space, crops on farms, they produced more energy than they needed for mere survival.

It was with the advent of agriculture that our civilization, for good or for bad, really emerged. With this rapid advancement came about moral quandaries. There simply was no way to build early civilizations without slavery. From the earliest writings, we know that the very first laws ever constructed had to do with keeping the poor doing the work of the rich who made the laws.

It was just the way of life. When humans figured out that they could harvest the energy of non-human muscle, like the muscle power in horses, they used horses, meaning fewer humans had to donate their muscle energy. Slavery decreased this was a fascinating aspect of this book and is something I want to spend more time thinking about-- how morality arose not from consciousness but from our energy needs!!!

When machines were finally build, horse muscles horsepower was replaced by machine power still called horsepower. This reduced our need to use humans and animal muscle. Interestingly, humans began to focus more on human and animal rights only once they no longer needed their muscle power to bring about the advancement of their societies. That is how a storytelling author might have written Smil's book. Where Smil diverges from the story telling Harari's of the world is that he will not construct a story that flows, is easy to follow, where the facts are kept to a minimum.

No, you will be overloaded with facts. Smil will not merely convey that there was a transfer of horsepower from horse muscle to machine energy output. He will tell you exactly how many Watts were harvested from horses, from slaves, from machines. Smil will do this on every page, and it will undoubtedly make this book much harder to read than other books.

You will not be able to just sail along sinking into the type of daydream induced when reading deeply satisfying histories as told by authors like Harari. Your brain will have to constantly work to keep track of what these figures really mean for how energy transformed human existence from the prehistoric practices of hunting down one's food and roaming the earth to feed the human body to the advances we have witnessed so far, such as agriculture, the industrial revolution, the computer revolution, and conquering space, to the projected advances for the future of our species.

You will have to ingest the extremely detailed facts and then remind yourself, constantly, where you are in the sweeping narrative. However, if you can do that, you experience reward beyond anything a more superficial book could produce. Smil's facts are relentless, but my god do they really drive home his points!

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Smil Published Engineering. Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence.

A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel—driven civilization. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History , he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10, years. Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass.

That is my depressing conclusion after spending 31 hours and 57 minutes immersed in the audiobook versions of arguably the 2 best histories of energy ever written. Not only is this book the perfect companion to Energy and Civilization , reading Richard Rhodes is an absolute pleasure. Usually, the more I learn about the world the more optimistic about our future I become. It will. Our grandkids, and more importantly the grandkids of those living today's emerging economies, will lead better energy lives than today. It is more that the changes in the energy mix in the United States will come more slowly than I had hoped.


The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate te Energy and Civilization: A History Read Online · Download PDF. Save.


3 Depressing Conclusions from Reading 'Energy and Civilization' and 'Energy: A Human History’

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If you work in the energy field, chances are you have heard of Vaclav Smil. Smil, the reclusive Czech with the position of Emeritus Professor at the University of Manitoba, is often credited as among the most influential writers in interdisciplinary energy studies Bill Gates cites Smil as one of his favorite authors. Highly prolific, Smil has published 40 books and close to articles on various topics. However, this is not your typical history book. Though appreciating the details is a significant task, if the reader is up to it Energy and Civilization is truly rewarding.

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A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel—driven civilization. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History , he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10, years.

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Я всегда добиваюсь своей цели, - подумал Стратмор. Не обращая внимания на пролом в стене, он подошел к электронной двери. Створки с шипением разъехались в стороны. Он вошел. Сьюзан стояла перед ним, промокшая, взъерошенная, в его пиджаке, накинутом на плечи. Она выглядела как первокурсница, попавшая под дождь, а он был похож на студента последнего курса, одолжившего ей свою куртку. Впервые за многие годы коммандер почувствовал себя молодым.

Energy and Civilization: A History

 - Он откашлялся.  - Он нацелен на фильтры безопасности. Фонтейн побледнел.

Кольца на пальце уже не. ГЛАВА 118 - Это может служить доказательством, - решительно заявил Фонтейн.  - Танкадо избавился от кольца.

Хейл внезапно почувствовал беспокойство - скорее всего из-за необычного поведения Сьюзан. Он быстро пересек комнату и преградил ей дорогу, скрестив на груди руки.

2 COMMENTS

Mathias S.

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I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie.

Ourbelleisi

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Energy and Civilization: A History; Vaclav Smil; ; Book; Published by: The MIT Press. View; Save. Save Download PDF Download; Save.

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