In the footsteps of Joseph Tainter and Jared Diamond, Kaz Makabe paints an unsettling picture of our energy future-and the future of our technological society. With powerful anecdotes and offhand erudition, Makabe ranges from Elizabethan England to the Fukushima disaster to show that two centuries of exponential growth powered by fossil fuels have brought us to the brink of an energy cliff-and that renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power will not be enough to rescue us. The solution, he argues, lies with advanced forms of nuclear power, including reactors powered by the alternative nuclear fuel thorium. The question is whether humanity can muster the will and the adaptive power to buy us enough time to avert climate catastrophe.