The Energy of Slaves

By Andrew Nikiforuk,

Book cover of The Energy of Slaves

Book description

Ancient civilizations routinely relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. In the early 19th century, the slave trade became one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet. Economists described the system as necessary for progress. Slaveholders viewed…

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1 author picked The Energy of Slaves as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If the goods and services that we enjoy in America today all had to be provided by human muscle power, we would each, on average, need roughly 150 people working full-time for us. Instead, fossil fuels do the work. The good news: coal helped end the horrors of slavery. The bad news: we’re all now utterly dependent on an energy system that’s destroying the world and the survival prospects of future generations. In many ways, we have become slaves to the fossil fuel regime, and Nikiforuk explains how. This book deserved far more attention than it received when published in…

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