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May 3, 2016

Windpower by Christopher Gillis--A Review


I just came across Windpower by Chris Gillis, the editor Windmiller Gazette and other publications. Yes, I am a little late. The book was published in 2008. (Its companion, Offshore Windpower was published in 2011.)

It’s no small sign of wind energy’s success that you can’t keep up with the steady stream of books in English--even when you’re into books on wind energy. It’s even more problematic is you spread your net wider to catch books on the topic in Danish, Swedish, French, and German.

I won’t do the book justice here, only to say it exists and that like Gillis’ other books it’s particularly strong on the history of wind power, his specialty.

As I explain in a review of his Still Turning, Gillis picked up his love for windmills while a student. As an exchange student he came into contact with Belgian mill historians. (Yes, Virginia there is such a profession.) Later he was to come into contact with French, Dutch, and our own windmill historian extraordinaire, T. Lindsay Baker. It was from Baker, the author of the definitive catalog of the 19th century American farm windmill, that Gillis began editing Windmiller’s Gazette. (To give you a sense of the newsletter’s topics, one article in a recent issue is the “Wind-powered Washing Machines from World War II” with shirtless GIs proudly showing off their muscled torsos—and their windmills. Imagine, windmill porn.)

And as a professional editor, Gillis knows how to find rare historical photographs that make his books stand out. (There are a few of my photos in his book, so I may be partial.)

I’ll try to add more to this review as time permits. For now, this review can serve as a place holder and alert others to the books existence.

Gillis, Christopher. Windpower. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2008. 144 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0764329692. 8.4 x 10.8 inches. $24.99. Printed in China.

Contents

Foreword by Nolan Clark

Acknowledgements

  1. Origins
  2. Pioneers
  3. Small Wind Power
  4. Scaling Up
  5. California’s Winds
  6. Europe’s Leadership
  7. Building a Wind Farm
  8. Offshore Wind
  9. North America’s Wind Rush
  10.  Global Spread
  11.  Fitting In
  12. Growing Up

Appendices

  1. US Wind Farm Map
  2. Industry Associtions
  3. Small Wind Turbine equipment Providers
  4. American Windmill Parts Providers
  5. US Government Sources
  6. Publications
  7. Other Useful Modern wind Information Sources
  8. Windmill History, Associations, and Publications
  9. American Windmill Museums

Endnotes

Glossary

Index


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