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Vaclav Smil Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Energy In The Developing World: The Real Energy Crisis (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy Analysis And Agriculture: An Application To U.s. Corn Production (With: Paul Nachman,Thomas V. Long) (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Biomass Energies: Resources, Links, Constraints (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bad Earth: Environmental Degradation In China (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy, Food, Environment: Realities, Myths, Opinions (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy In China's Modernization: Advances And Limitations (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
General Energetics: Energy in the Biosphere and Civilization (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
China's Environmental Crisis: An Enquiry Into the Limits of National Development (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Global Ecology: Environmental Change and Social Flexibility (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy In World History (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Feeding the World (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Earth's Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
China's Past, China's Future (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Transforming the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations and Their Consequences: Technical Innovations and Their Consequences v. 2 (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oil: A Beginner's Guide (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next 50 Years (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Why America Is Not a New Rome (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oil Resources Production Uses Impacts (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts (With: Kazuhiko Kobayashi) (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Carbon-Nitrogen-Sulfur: Human Interference in Grand Biospheric Cycles (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Should We Eat Meat?: Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Power Density: A Key to Understanding Energy Sources and Uses (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Natural Gas (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Still the Iron Age: Iron and Steel in the Modern World (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Energy and Civilization: A History (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Numbers Don't Lie: 71 Things You Need to Know About the World (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grand Transitions: How the Modern World Was Made (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
How the World Really Works (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Invention and Innovation (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Oneworld Beginners' Guides Books

Energy: A Beginner's Guide (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nutrition (By: Sarah Brewer) (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Scientific American Library Books

Powers of Ten (By: Philip Morrison,Phylis Morrison) (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Human Diversity (By: Richard C. Lewontin) (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Discovery of Subatomic Particles (By: Steven Weinberg) (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Science of Structures and Materials (By: J.E. Gordon) (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
From Quarks to the Cosmos: Tools of Discovery (By: Leon M. Lederman) (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mathematics: The Science of Patterns: The Search for Order in Life, Mind and the Universe (By: Keith Devlin) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cycles of Life: Civilization and the Biosphere (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon

Vaclav Smil is a former Distinguished Professor of the University Of Manitoba Winnipeg Faculty Of Environment. Smil went to the Carolinum University’s Faculty of Natural Sciences and then the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences for his graduate studies. He is a man of very many research interests that include economic, energy, population, environmental, food, public policy, and historical policy studies. He has also applied some of the approaches in his studies on environmental, food, and energy affairs in China. Vaclav is a Royal Society of Canada Fellow and made history as the first non-American to be awarded the Advancement of Science Award by the American Association for Public Understanding of Technology and Science. He has been an in-demand speaker that has given talks in more than 250 workshops and conferences in Africa, the United States, Asia, Canada, and Europe. He has also given lectures in universities in East Asia, Europe, and North America and has been a consultant for many EU and American international institutions. He is married to Eva a physician and together they have a son David that works as a synthetic organic chemist.

Smil’s childhood was not that exceptional as he was born to an ordinary police officer who would then go on to become a manufacturing worker. His mother was a bookkeeper for a psychiatric hospital kitchen and this meant that he lived a very ordinary life. Even at a very young age, Vaclav Smil knew that the Czechoslovakia of the Cold War was surrounded by a miasma of falsehood and this led him to develop a deep respect for facts. He was a teenager during the 1950s and spent much of his time chopping firewood for the family that lived in a small remote town near the Bohemian Forest nestled in the mountains. He would often walk the forest trails and saw the high ridge in West Germany that bordered his homeland that was known as the Hohenbogen. But something less visible was the minefield that was made to ensure the Czechs seeking a better life did not escape into West Germany. He would usually chop wood after his walks and then stoke the several heating stoves in the one-story family house. Every stroke of the ax released the energy stored therein by the sun over the decades and sometimes centuries. It was tough and repetitive work and even though it made the family more comfortable, Smil knew that it was not an efficient way of living.

Vaclav Smil is nowadays a combination of an intellectual and scientist that sometimes showcases the tastes of cosmopolitan but toothless bohemian. He is fluent in several languages and often describes himself as a food and tea snob though he does not like to eat out often since he believes so much of the food served in restaurants is premade. He is also an art lover and has been to museums and galleries across the world. Mention Madrid’s “Prado Museum” and he will have all the tricks he used to ensure that you get to enjoy “Las Menina” by Diego Velasquez without all the crowds. When he is not traveling he can be found writing from his home in Winnipeg. He had a small garden where he cultivates basil, tomatoes, and hot peppers the traditional way. He often cooks his dishes in Chinese or Indian styles and often eats meat once a week. As a man that is very much concerned with energy efficiency, he drives the most efficient and most reliable car in the Honda Civic. His home is a modest 200 square meters house that he built himself in 1989.

“Energy and Civilization: A History” by Vaclav Smil is a comprehensive analysis of how energy informed the development of society right from pre-agricultural foraging societies to the fossil fuel-driven modern world. In our world, the universal currency is energy which is a necessity for anything getting done. The conversion and production of energy depend on a range of forces and processes from cumulative action of erosion and plate tectonics. Critically, life on earth is dependent on the conversion of the sun’s energy into biomass through the process of photosynthesis. Humans depend on a range of energy flows from photovoltaic and fossil fuels for the existence of civilization. In the work, Smil offers a comprehensive analysis of the history and future of energy in modern times. Humans remain the only species capable of systematically harnessing energy in their environment. They combine it with intelligence to make simple as well as complex things such as nuclear reactors and combustion engines. The transition to fossil fuels was a game-changer as it impacted everything from the environment, agriculture, politics, industry, quality of life, transportation, urbanization, weapons, economics, and communication. Smil talks about energy eras in an interdisciplinary and panoramic fashion that offers readers a commanding overview.

Vaclav Smil’s novel “Energy: A Beginner’s Guide,” continues the insightful look into energy. Energy is everywhere and is everything. The academic and prolific author offers an introduction to what energy is and its place in both the past and present society. He starts by explaining what energy is and then expands his work to interesting topics including the race for more environmentally friendly and efficient fuels and the inner workings of the human body. One of the mainstream political issues of modern times is global warming and Smil shed light on the many efforts to prevent it and also explains the science informing it. He also asserts that what may seem insignificant actions on a personal and societal level may have a huge impact on the consumption of energy. It is a useful book for anyone interested in understanding how energy works. While there are many technical terms in the work, it is very easy to comprehend. The best thing about it is that it makes it so easy to understand energy right from the very early days when humans used solar power to dry grains right to the modern use of fossil fuels.

“Energy Myths and Realities” by Vaclav Smil is a work that analyses the misconceptions regarding global energy as they are put forth by stakeholders such as activists, media, business leaders, politicians, and even scientists. Money and time have been wasted and this has hampered the development of up-to-date policies when it comes to energy. The work debunks some of the biggest fallacies and provides a scientific and constructive approach to the energy challenge that faces the globe. Are wind and ethanol viable sources of energy in modern society? Is it time to adopt nuclear energy? And could the world run out of fossil fuels at some point? Smil says that people need to be wary of impossible promises and exaggerated claims. The transition to more efficient energy will be expensive and prolonged and this will call for the development of new and extensive infrastructure. Traditional energy sources and technologies are adaptable and persistent enough that the transition will be possible even if painful. The work analyzes things from a scientific perspective rather than the baseless assertions and uncritical thinking that characterize similar works. Before the creation of robust energy policies for the modern world, it is critical to reject the popular fallacies that impede true progress.

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