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Academic & Professional Books  Environmental & Social Studies  Natural Resource Use & Depletion  Energy

To Have and Have Not Energy in World History

By: Brian C Black(Author)
310 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables
To Have and Have Not
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  • To Have and Have Not ISBN: 9781538105030 Hardback May 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £24.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Written by a leading scholar, this essential introduction to the history of energy traces one of humans' most basic ecological interactions: energy exchange. From fire to agriculture, water wheels to electric dynamos, the rise in intensity led humans to define a new "high energy" existence during the twentieth century. Industrialization and consumption increased the connection between energy and economic and political power, clarifying its importance throughout the world wars and into the Cold War. To Have and Have Not reveals a world in which energy supply now defines global standing, starkly revealing the connection between history and current events that perfectly situates our modern conundrum of a future without fossil fuels. Climate change and the supply of sustainable energy now permeate our modern policy-making as we bear witness to the waning years of energy borrowed from the distant past. Brian Black argues that our history of growing energy reliance and past transitions is essential context for understanding our inevitable shift to cleaner energy. Placing this story within the current, rapidly changing historical discourse, this book is timely and persuasive as it lays out our current transition from fossil fuels.


Introduction: The Urgency of Our Relationship with Energy

PART I: Energy Exchange in the Biological Old Regime (before 1400)
1. Energy in the Human Past
Transitioning by the Numbers: Biological Old Regime

PART II: Industrialization and the Great Reversal (1400–1920)
2. Colonialism, Mercantilism, and Empire
Transitioning by the Numbers: Industrialization
3. Fossil Fuels and the Transformation of Human Work
4. Energizing Everyday Human Life

PART III: Energy Broadens the Gap (1900–2000)
5. Energy and National Security
6. Energy Technology and Empire in the Cold War Era
Transitioning by the Numbers: High-Energy Existence
7. The Energy Gap Takes Shape

PART IV: Integrating Sustainability (2000–2022)
Transitioning by the Numbers: Considering Sustainable Energy
8. Energy Transitions and the Culture of Sustainability

Epilogue: Divining Our Energy Future: Game Over or Game On?

Customer Reviews


Brian C. Black is a Distinguished Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Penn State Altoona. He is the author of several books, including Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History.

By: Brian C Black(Author)
310 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables
Media reviews

"In contrast to popular usage, history is not just about the past. Learning how the world got to be the way it is and the forces that govern its evolution, is essential to understanding the present and preparing to face the future. Brian Black has the rare ability to synthesize masses of information and craft narratives that are accessible to popular audiences without sacrificing analytical rigor. His latest work is a wide-ranging and informative account of the role of energy in modern history. Focusing on how societies have produced and consumed energy in the past, he provides new perspectives on the present and illuminates the possibilities of charting a more equitable and sustainable path for the future."
– David S. Painter, emeritus, Georgetown University

"No one knows more about the history of energy use than Brian C. Black. In this sweeping narrative, he argues with skill and insight that energy stands at the core of the entire human experience, from an 'old biological regime' to modern fossil fuel dependency. As we go through a major transition in our sources of energy, we need informed guides to where we have been – and there is none better than this author and his work"
– Donald Worster, author of Shrinking the Earth: The Rise & Decline of Natural Abundance

"To Have and Have Not is a sane, no-nonsense guide to humanity's endless quest for the energy without which we could not survive. If you want to understand the history of this search – and, even more important, where it is taking us – this is an excellent place to start."
– Ian Morris, Stanford University

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