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Hydrocarbon Nation

, 440 pages

19 line drawings, 2 charts

May 2018



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Hydrocarbon Nation

How Energy Security Made Our Nation Great and Climate Security Will Save Us

In Hydrocarbon Nation, Thor Hogan looks at how four technological revolutions—industrial, agricultural, transportation, and electrification—drew upon the enormous hydrocarbon wealth of the United States, transforming the young country into a nation with unparalleled economic and military potential.

Each of these advances engendered new government policies aimed at strengthening national and economic security. The result was unprecedented energy security and the creation of a nation nearly impervious to outside threats. However, when this position weakened in the decades after the peaking of domestic conventional oil supplies in 1970, the American political and economic systems were severely debilitated. At the same time, climate change was becoming a major concern.

Fossil fuels created the modern world, yet burning them created a climate crisis. Hogan argues that everyday Americans and policymakers alike must embrace the complexity of this contradiction in order to help society chart a path forward. Doing so, Hogan explains, will allow us to launch a critically important sustainability revolution capable of providing energy and climate security in the future. Hydrocarbon Nation provides reasons to believe that we can succeed in expanding on the benefits of the Hydrocarbon Age in order to build a sustainable future.

Thor Hogan is an associate professor of politics and environmental sustainability at Earlham College. He is the author of Mars Wars: The Rise and Fall of the Space Exploration Initiative.

"Well written, uniquely thought-provoking, and incisive, Hydrocarbon Nation makes important connections that provide new insights into humans’ history of energy management."

""Hogan... writes passionately of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels to solve the looming climate crisis... By not implicitly demonizing hydrocarbons, Hydrocarbon Nation is much more persuasive... Bracing and opinionated, Hydrocarbon Nation is a worthwhile exploration backward and forward."

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