"Thor Hogan’s book is incredibly ambitious in its scope but, commendably, accomplishes two related but distinct feats. The first half of the book (Chapters 1–3) provides an extensively detailed, historical account of how the U.S. government used the country’s ample fossil fuel supplies to spur economic growth and provide national and economic security for its citizens. The second half (Chapters 4–6), however, shows how the political, economic, and energy systems built over 200 years both exacerbated a new security threat (climate change) and hindered the U.S. government’s ability to respond to it. More important, it details specific policy proposals to address climate security. Thus, the book both provides a theoretically rich analysis of why addressing climate change is so politically difficult and offers a bold blueprint for overcoming these obstacles. Unlike many other books addressing climate change, Hogan acknowledges the past benefits of fossil fuels and argues that one (gas) can contribute to a sustainability revolution.... Together, the two halves of the book provide a compelling story that supports a comprehensive policy agenda for addressing climate change."
Craig M. Kauffman, Political Science Quarterly
"Hogan gives us plenty to think about. His work knitting together political cycles with energy revolutions (that span industry, agriculture, transportation, and electrification, or what he calls the innate revolutions) is thought provoking. It produces a creative narrative that ties energy history to banking policy, wealth and income inequality, international diplomacy, environmental health, and other topics over two centuries.... Hogan offers in the last chapters a stimulating inventory of institutions, ideas, and policy alternatives that have the potential to deliver the United States into climate security. His proposals, which include a series of hypothetical constitutional amendments, are detailed and thoughtful, some practicable, some improbable. But together they are a welcome rejection of the dominant dismal narrative of climate change. Today’s impasse, we learn, is not so much a scientific problem but a political problem. We are left with the important message that hydrocarbons have always been part of the nation’s experience with human security and that it will take strong political will to transition away from them."
Bob Johnson, Journal of American History
"Well written, uniquely thought-provoking, and incisive, Hydrocarbon Nation makes important connections that provide new insights into humans’ history of energy management."
Brian C. Black, Pennsylvania State University, author of Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History
"Hogan... writes passionately of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels to solve the looming climate crisis... By not implicitly demonizing hydrocarbons, Hydrocarbon Nation is much more persuasive... Bracing and opinionated, Hydrocarbon Nation is a worthwhile exploration backward and forward."
Ray Bert, Civil Engineering