Book Review – Clean Energy Nation

Joanna Schroeder

This week I read Clean Energy Nation by Congressman Jerry McNerny and Martin Cheek. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I found myself likening the book to the classic Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Subconsciously I think it was because one of the recurring themes in Brave New World, first published in 1932, is the Fordship’s desire, after Our Ford ‘s first T-Model,” for its citizens to “consume manufactured articles as well as transport.” Ironically, a portion of Huxley’s predictions came true – globally, people have been conditioned to consume both manufactured items and transportation. It is expected that by 2020 or so, there will be two billion cars on the road.

Clean Energy Nation is like most other energy books and begins with a history lesson about energy with special attention paid to the use and development of fossil fuels. In the words of the New World controller, “…you all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford’s: History is bunk. History,” he repeated slowly, ‘is bunk’.” While history is not bunk, as a global population we seem to think that it is, and it bears saying that recurrent energy history lessons are much needed.

The next section of the book delves into America’s energy issues and covers all the usual suspects including national security, environment, economy, agriculture, public health, education, and good government. (Or in the case of the U.S., bad government. Since 1973, the U.S. Department of Energy has missed 34 deadlines to set mandatory energy standards.). Finally, the book gets into a discussion about America’s energy future.

The discussion about the “crossroads” of America was very motivational. One thing I thought the authors did well was engage each and every person into the fight for the country’s energy future. Too often, the road taken is one where the future is left up to the government – in Clean Energy Nation, it is one left up to Americans, and the people of the world. And as the authors explain, it is when the people come together to fight for a cause that change happens.

“The sprit of 1776 [America’s independence day] requires all Americans to commit themselves to be part of this new energy-freedom movement. Through our system of democratic government, every individual can contribute in creating better energy opportunities for our nation. We can all lend a hand to shape the course through history that this nation will take in coming years,” encourage the authors. 

A very fitting message as you head to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The choice you make could help change the course of America’s energy future.

Win a copy of Clean Energy Nation. Email me at with the subject line: Clean Energy Nation and include your contact information in the body of the email by EOD Tuesday, October 30, 2012.  I will announce the winner in the DomesticFuel newsletter on October 31. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here.

Alternative energy, book reviews, Clean Energy, Opinion