Book Review – Freedom From Oil

Joanna Schroeder

Just when I thought there was no creative way to present a plan to address America’s energy issues, I read “Freedom From Oil,” books1by David Sandalow. Two words immediately come to mind to sum up the book. Clever. Brilliant. It is no surprise that Sandalow has recently been nominated by President Obama to serve as DOE assistant secretary for Policy and International Affairs. It appears that the president has adopted a few policy considerations from this book.

“Freedom From Oil” begins with a memo from the “President of the United States” to his heads of various departments letting them know that in one month he will be giving a speech on oil dependence. During this speech, the memo states, “I hope to present the nation with a plan for ending our dependence on oil.” The memo continues with a call to action and deliverable materials and the various aspects that will affect this plan. The president ends by asking his team to keep this quote in mind when responding, “Make no small plans, for they have no power to stir the soul.”

From there, the departments then submit memos back to the president who then summarizes the “pros and cons” of each issue. In addition, there are articles of interest included with the memos that highlight people who are working day-to-day to help solve America’s energy issues. For those of you who are fans of the IndyCar Series, one article focuses on its use of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol.

In the end, a strategic plan is offered and the finale: the president’s national address regarding the country’s dependence on oil. Sandalow presents ideas that many others have written about (because he says all ideas must be considered) and he offers new policies as well. I’ve not read a more balanced presentation of the pros and cons of potential energy policies and solutions. “Freedom From Oil” is a must read.

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