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Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet

Photosynthesis may be the energy answer we seek.

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Some books are riveting by the nature of their topic: Fresh biographies about the lives and business acumen of Warren Buffett and Ted Turner, for instance; or a new novel by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in literature; or perhaps a sordid tell-all penned by a disgruntled Hollywood insider spilling the beans on a famous film starlet.

On the other hand, a work of nonfiction about photosynthesis is not one that readily screams entertainment or bestseller.

Yet Oliver Morton’s Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet is so topically relevant to our daily lives – and the things we profoundly take for granted, such as breathing oxygen, the changing seasons, and the source of electrical horsepower – that it should seize our attention out of necessity.

That is, if we are the least bit curious about America’s energy and economic future, what it portends for global warming, or the conundrum of our strategic military defense, as enunciated by the latest champion of energy independence, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens.

Any grade-school student can explain that photosynthesis is the magical metabolic process by which sunlight is converted via plants and other organisms into oxygen and energy, which in turn fuels life on Earth.

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