The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
Pulitzer Prize-winner Daniel Yergin demonstrates how the global quest for energy will reshape our world.
(Page 2 of 2)
Particularly in his specialty field of petroleum, “The Quest” creates a new energy reality by binding together events of the last few decades. Part One, which extends over 300 pages, picks up where Yergin left off in “The Prize,” which was originally published in 1991. With his thorough research and narrative flare, Yergin explores the history of the last three decades with petroleum by hopping readers around the contemporary world of oil, focusing on the Caspian Sea and Iraq while also discussing emerging consumers such as China and concepts such as “Peak Oil.” “The Prize” stands as such a seminal book that it is somehow comforting to have this petroleum narrative updated to the present.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Of course, lots of intelligent people have recently written about our energy conundrum. Yergin’s “The Quest,” though, is different due to its quality and breadth, but also because of the importance of his voice in the global discourse over energy. “The Quest,” therefore, takes on an importance as symbol that may be greater than its coverage – terrific though it is – of an array of topics dealing with the human pursuit and application of energy.
In the rest of “The Quest,” the reader is ultimately left to ponder whether or not Yergin has bitten off more than he should have: Part Two concerns energy made from nuclear, natural gas, and hydrogen; Part Three investigates climate change; Part Four brings the rebirth of alternatives right up to the present; and Part Five veers into related contemporary issues, such as biofuels and electric vehicles, rather inexplicably retracing easily available history. These additional sections complete an expansive portrait of our energy moment; however, they give “The Quest” the feel of an encyclopedia. Critics may feel that “The Quest” – coming in at more than 800 pages – is a challenge to the American people in more ways than one.
But, most importantly, “The Quest” challenges readers to react and, then, to act. One thing is certain, writes Yergin, “The world’s appetite for energy in the years ahead will grow enormously. The absolute numbers are staggering. Whatever the mix in the years ahead, energy and its challenges will be defining for our future.”
“The Quest” doesn’t offer Yergin’s prescription for our energy future. But what the book does do is to clearly and carefully outline the diverse factors we will need to consider as we move toward an energy transition. Readers of Yergin’s important book should end up better positioned to play their own role in the quest for our energy future.