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Hardcover | $50.00 Short | £34.95 | ISBN: 9780262194105 | 228 pp. | 8 x 9 in | December 1998
Paperback | $22.95 Short | £15.95 | ISBN: 9780262692359 | 228 pp. | 8 x 9 in | February 2000


An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization


In this highly original book, ecologist Vaclav Smil presents a comprehensive and integrated survey of all the forms of energy that shape our world, from the sun to the human body, from bread to microchips. Written in a scientifically sophisticated yet accessible style, Energies consists of eighty-two short essays organized under six headings: Sun and Earth, Plants and Animals, People and Food, Preindustrial Societies, Fossil-Fueled Civilization, and Transportation and Information. Each essay explains the science of the energy form as well as its implications for the functioning of the universe, life, or human society.

About the Author

Vaclav Smil is the author of more than thirty books on energy, the environment, food, and the history of technical advances, including Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature, published by the MIT Press. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. In 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.


"Dip into the book anywhere, and you will find a bracing fact or connection... dazzling."—Scientific American
"Filled with interesting factual tidbits, this book rekindles the fascination with science that we all once had as children.", Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs


"A thought-provoking and enjoyable piece of work."
Wolfgang Rueckner, Harvard University