Anybody is pretty presumptuous who sets out to publish a revision of a book that has been on the market for twenty years. I am, but I think that a lot of people who didn’t read it the first time should have! And, I want to bring the evidence for the thesis up to date. I was glad to find how well the basic ideas had held up and how much of the evidence relevant to it supports it without much modification. Three of the chapters dealing with basic theory are reproduced almost without change. All the others have been rewritten so that modification could be made where it was necessary, and more recent proof introduced where it has permitted elaboration now backed by empirical evidence.
Energy will be a major revolutionary factor in human life in the future, as it has been in the past. All of us, who think they know things that may help to avoid the problems that changes in its sources and declines in its availability will create, owe it to our fellows to do our bit. So, presumptuous or not, I have done what I thought I should.
Editor's Note: This preface was found with the rest of the revised manuscript which was “discovered” in the Spring of 2008 by Robert Cottrell, son of Fred Cottrell. It was not signed or dated, It was a part of the working papers.
This is a chapter from Energy and Society: The Relationship Between Energy, Social Change, and Economic Development (e-book).
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