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Capsule Review

A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

In This Review

A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
By Robert Bryce
PublicAffairs, 2020, 352 pp. Purchase

This informative and highly readable book explains the basic physics of electricity, the modern history of electric power since the 1880s, the role that electricity plays today in both production and consumption, and the costs inflicted on a society when its electrical grid is badly damaged, as Iraq’s was by U.S. bombing in 2003 and as Lebanon’s was by Israeli bombing in 2006. Bryce persuasively claims that world electricity demand will double between 2015 and 2040, despite big improvements in the efficiency of generating and distributing electric power. In his view, there is no way that climate change can be arrested by the use of renewable fuels alone. Nuclear power (along with natural gas) will be required if the world is serious about greatly slashing coal consumption.

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In This Review

A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
By Robert Bryce
PublicAffairs, 2020, 352 pp. Purchase

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