Facts on File, 2009. - 208 pages.Section headings like A Brief History of Coal and Patterns of Consumption may not sound exciting, and they aren’t, but this terrifically informative volume in the Energy and the Environment series is a perfect resource for someone struggling to wrap their brain around some of the most complex energy issues of our time. The book is organized into two mirrored halves; coal goes first, with Tabak using clear, succinct language to explain the earliest discovery of the fuel, how and why it burns, the demand throughout time, dangers associated with its excavation, and much more. The half on oil is even more immediate; any young car owner dealing with wildly fluctuating gas prices will benefit from the discussion of the related politics and struggles in the Middle East. There is no doubt the material is dense, and the pictures and graphs are relatively few; but pullout sections like Life and Death in Early Coal Mines help ease the pain.
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