Book Reviews





Everything you wanted to know about alcohol-fuel production but were afraid to ask. For those who think ethanol is the be-all and end-all of the alternative-energy revolution, think again. More than 20 years ago, veteran biofuel guru Blume (Alcohol Can Be a Gas, 1983) beat the drum for alcohol-based alternative fuels. Despite an impenetrable foreword by R. Buckminster Fuller, Blume’s latest book is a well-researched and expanded update to his original work, incorporating 21st-century concerns over global warming, domestic-energy policy, grassroots biofuel solutions and the challenges of going green in a world dominated by the fossil fuel “oiligarchy.”

Blume systematically and entertainingly builds his case for individual responsibility and activism in dealing with the nation’s domestic-energy challenges, and he excludes no one in preaching his gospel of alcohol-fuel independence. For the novice, Blume tells the story of alcohol production’s rich history in America, from the Civil War to today, and effectively demystifies the thorny pros and cons of the current national energy-policy debate regarding ethanol. This education alone is worth the cover price.

Make no mistake, the book is more than a bully pulpit for championing sociopolitical opinions on global-energy woes—it is a technical how-to book. Written with enterprising do-it-yourselfers in mind, Blume offers countless hands-on technical solutions ranging from home stills to for-profit manufacturing strategies and builds chapters on detailed charts, graphs and step-by-step building instructions, giving activist-minded readers the data and resources they need to implement personal and individualized energy solutions. A well-executed, socially conscious proactive and rigorous call to action.

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