Energy - Genie or Genius?
There is no one history of the subject of 'energy', rather there are various histories. Many see the question of energy as neither more nor less than the key to modern world history, while others insist on the fact that 'energy' is an extremely abstract concept totally unsuited to being turned into a historical driving force or being granted heroic connotations. History can be written from either point of view, but in either case it is a dramatic story. Let us consider the various scenarios.
First of all, there is the grand story of the success of energy production which has increased rapidly since the early period of industrialisation; a fascinating account full of superlatives, to such an extent that it might be believed that we are touching the nerve of most recent history. On closer analysis it is possible to identify three separate impetuses in this growth curve, three qualitative leaps each ushering in a new era.
This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.
Please choose one of these options to access this article:
- Purchase an online subscription
- Purchase a print and online subscription
- If you are already a print subscriber, purchase the online archive upgrade
Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.
If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
- Central America
- Early Modern
- 20th Century
- Economic History
- Environmental History
- Food & Drink
- Historical Memory
- Science & Technology