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The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World [Hardcover]

Daniel Yergin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Sep 2011

The Quest continues the riveting story Daniel Yergin began twenty years ago with his No.1 International Bestseller The Prize, revealing the on-going quest to meet the world's energy needs - and the power and riches that come with it.

A master story teller as well as our most expert analyst, Yergin proves that energy is truly the engine of global political and economic change. From the jammed streets of Beijing, the shores of the Caspian Sea, and the conflicts in the Middle East, to Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley, Yergin tells the inside stories of the oil market, the rise of the 'petrostate', the race to control the resources of the former Soviet empire, and the massive corporate mergers that have transformed the oil landscape. He shows how the drama of oil - the struggle for access to it, the battle for control, the insecurity of supply, its impact on the global economy, and the geopolitics that dominate it - will continue to shape our world. And he takes on the toughest questions: will we run out; are China and the United States destined for conflict; what of climate change? Yergin also reveals the surprising and turbulent histories of nuclear, coal, and natural gas, and investigates the 'rebirth of renewables'- biofuels, wind, and solar energy - showing how understanding this greening landscape and its future role are crucial to the needs of a growing world economy.

The Quest presents an extraordinary range of characters and dramatic stories to illustrate the principles that will shape our energy security system for the decades to come. It is essential reading.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (20 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846145422
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846145421
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


It is impossible to think of a better introduction to the essentials of energy in the 21st Century ... above all, the value of The Quest is in the clarity and fair-mindedness of Yergin's thought ... the definitive guide to how we got here (Ed Crooks Financial Times )

Required reading ...The Quest is a masterly piece of work and, as a comprehensive guide to the world's great energy needs and dilemmas, it will be hard to beat (The Economist )

If you were in any doubt about what makes the world go round, Daniel Yergin can enlighten you ... a comprehensive picture of the nexus between power, politics and oil (Danny Fortson Sunday Times )

About the Author

Daniel Yergin is one of the most highly respected and influential authorities in the world on energy, international politics and economics. He is a recipient of the United States Energy Award for 'lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding'. Dr. Yergin received the Pulitzer for The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, which became a number one bestseller and was made into an eight-hour PBS/BBC series seen by millions of people around the world. He is chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the leading research and consulting firm in its field. He serves as CNBC's Global Energy Expert.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive study of energy 26 Jan 2012
This remarkable book covers the whole subject of energy, its history, science, economics and politics. Yergin examines oil, coal, gas (both conventional and unconventional), nuclear power, climate change, the electric age, new energies, and roads to the future.

He notes, "In a carbon-conscious world, nuclear power's great advantages are not only the traditional ones of fuel diversification and self-sufficiency. It is also the only large-scale, well-established, broadly deployable source of electric generation currently available that is carbon free."

US nuclear plants require a licence from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate. These licences were originally granted for 40 years. In 1995 the end of the 40 years was coming into view for many plants. Without extensions, US nuclear supply would have shut down.

In the mid-1980s, the USA's nuclear plants worked at only about 55 per cent of their capacity. Now they work at more than 90 per cent of capacity.

Yergin points out, "The operating record of the nuclear industry had clearly improved, and substantially so. In fact, companies were coming to the commission to request permission for power upgrades, above what had been their maximum output, because of their increased efficiency. In support of license extension, the NRC launched a crucial new initiative to update the safety system that governed the industry, using new tools and capabilities." So the Commission extended licences for another 20 years.

Germany's nuclear plants supply a quarter of its electricity. In 2010 a new law extended their life by another 12 years.

By contrast, here in Britain, the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive will force the closure of 9.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece on the energy world 29 Dec 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the most comprehensive and comprehendable book on the world of energy I have read to date.

Whether you are experienced with the energy business or a newcomer, the book provides you with insight and knowledge on most aspects of the energy business. Mr Yergin takes the reader through both historical developments and modern-day dilemmas in the world of energy, and has an exceptional ability to provide high-level context combined with details knowledge on more technical aspects.

Ranging from geopolitical issues in the Middle East and increasing energy demand in China to the politics of climate change and the technical difficulties of commercialising solar powar, Yergin has written a clear and jargon-free book that is a true masterpiece in the the energy world's library. In short, a truly remarkable book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Strv 74
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have not read "The Prize" so I can't compare. I launched into this 800 pages long book thinking that Mr Yergin would be able to sort out where we are and where we are going. He did a good job on the first issue but much less so on the second.

This book is a massive presentation of the present situation concerning the worlds energy production and the history behind it. As such it is sometimes quite interesting. The Chapter on Venezuela was even quite funny! The problem is that since the book is such a huge undertaking it is hard to combine and present the complete picture based on the various chapters. You get to learn about oil, coal, wind etc but where is the synthesis? It takes some time to read 800+ pages and that makes it even harder to take the conclusions you made after reading about oil and add it to the rest several days later.

In all of this presentation about how we ended up where we are today he brings up the question about "Peak Oil". This is one of the most debated concepts we have today in energy discussions. But after reading his book I must confess that his view in this is still unclear to me. If I understand him correctly we have not passed "Peak Oil" yet as some other experts believe but when will we? In my lifetime or in my children's or never? I really can't say what his view is and he is a world authority.

Some reviewers of the book have claimed that Mr Yergin is a friend of the big oils companies that dominate world energy production. I do not share these views. I think he is presenting the case of oil in a rather neutral way. Certainly Mr Yergin is no left wing politician but that makes him able to study these questions without any preconceived notions.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading 28 Sep 2011
Whether you agree with Yergin or not on "Peak Oil", this book is essential reading. The prose is nicely jargon free and an easy read especially for those with a bit of background knowledge of the energy industry. As long as you're aware of Yergin's orientation - which is basically pro oil company and anti "peak oil" - then there is a feast of information here. He even has good things to say about wind power, solar and energy efficiency - with nice summaries of how the renewables industry has developed over the last few decades (how does this benefit the oil companies??). In summary, an excellent update to "the Prize". I've given it 4 stars because it would have to be completely free of bias to warrant 5 stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An education!
This book is "unputdownable!" It is a bang-up-to-date study of every - and I mean every aspect of the oil industry worldwide today; the new shale oil explosion, and then a... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Mr Pooter
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!
I'm not kidding - this book is the product of immense learning and a clear understanding of what's going on in the world and the technologies relevant to hydrocarbons and solar... Read more
Published 7 months ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars All you want to know about modern energy...
The sequel of "The Prize", which focuses on the history of oil. The author deals in "The Quest" with the short period about oil that was left uncovered in the "The Prize",... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pieter VDM
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good story of oil strategy and CO2 !!
Contents and book condition perfectly ok.Some delay in delivery.
The oil international history from 1991 on. Quite clear. It's Crystal for an extremely strategic question.
Published 9 months ago by ENG LUIS LINCE FARIA
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book but amazingly US centric
Very well written analysis of the energy industry. Takes a relatively centrist view of things, enough to annoy ardent greens and ardent oilmen. Read more
Published 9 months ago by M. Murdoch
5.0 out of 5 stars A majestic all encompassing book on energy
The book is an epic saga magnificently written on the broad spectrum of energy which underpins our modern technological civilization. The book is both authoritative and riveting. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Serghiou Const
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice book. Recommend it.
Firstly, i would like to say that the book arrived relatively early. As for the substantive part i have only one thing to mention, OUTSTANDING. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Marios
5.0 out of 5 stars THE CONTINUATION OF "THE PRIZE"
I really enjoyed this book. It is not as dramatic and thriller-like as The Prize, but it is an excellent big picture of the energy industry in the last twenty-two years. Read more
Published 15 months ago by NIOLAMB
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally engrossing and enlightening
A great explanation of the main political, economic, business and military driving forces that have driven the world in the last 70 years to secure energy supplies, and the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by A. D. Thacker
4.0 out of 5 stars A Modern History of Energy Production
Gives all the interesting political, financial, and personal background to the various sources of energy used and developed over the past 200 or so years. An excellent read.
Published 18 months ago by Andrew Anderson
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