The War Below: Lithium, Copper, and the Global Battle to Power Our Lives


Product Details

$30.00  $27.90
Atria/One Signal Publishers
Publish Date
6.3 X 8.5 X 2.1 inches | 1.15 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Ernest Scheyder is a senior correspondent for Reuters, covering the green energy transition and the minerals that undergird it. He previously covered the US shale oil revolution, politics, and the environment, and held roles at the Associated Press and the Bangor Daily News. A native of Maine, Scheyder is a graduate of the University of Maine and Columbia Journalism School. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter @ErnestScheyder.


"A nuanced and invaluable deep dive into the questions that need to be addressed if we are to fight climate change and achieve energy security."
--Financial Times

"A much-needed introduction to one of the defining issues of our time."
--New York Post

"Insightful...the stories he shares are stark reminders of why we need to have a systems view of material supply, from mines to markets."

"To uncover the inconvenient truths and the often overlooked tradeoffs of the energy transition, Reuters reporter Ernest Scheyder takes readers on a journey through American history, geopolitics, and the business world."
--Fortune, Best Books of 2023

"Authoritative analysis of a crucial issue and the tough choices ahead, backed by solid research."
--Kirkus (starred review)

"David vs. Goliath battles butt up against very real planetary perils in this evocative account of the energy transition's myriad complexities."
--Publishers Weekly

"For readers eager to learn about this industry, this is a sound start."
"Addressing climate change by digging up the earth for minerals is like putting out a fire with gasoline. Veteran journalist Scheyder helps cut through the smoke with his new book. The War Below gives the reader a front row seat to one of the critical debates of our time: how to power the clean energy transition without adding to ecological and human harm through irresponsible mining. Scheyder's detailed storytelling and research help convey what's at stake in this new 'race to the bottom.'"
--Payal Sampat, Earthworks
"The War Below provides an illuminating account of the global struggle for control of critical minerals. As the world uses more batteries it will need vastly more lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper. The War Below takes readers on an extraordinary journey from the bottom of the world's deepest mines to the commanding heights of the world's energy system. Scheyder uncovers the forces shaping the struggle for critical minerals, from geopolitical competition between China and the U.S. to political clashes between environmental groups and the world's largest mining firms. This is essential reading for understanding the critical minerals upon which the energy transition--and our future prosperity--relies."
--Chris Miller, author of Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology
"With his keen eye for detail and gift for storytelling, Scheyder digs deeply into the vast mineral supply chain supporting the electrical vehicle revolution, the political and economic forces driving it, and the far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, the environment, and the communities wherever these resources are found. Required reading for anyone interested in the 360-degree impacts of the energy transition."
--Daniel Poneman, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy

"The War Below is an entertaining and insightful look at the enormous complexity--technological, environmental, financial and political--of mining the metals needed to make the green energy revolution possible. It illuminates a dimension of the challenge confronting the energy transition that is little understood and dangerously real--a wakeup call for us all." --Michael Kowalski, former CEO and Chairman, Tiffany & Co.

"In The War Below, Ernest Scheyder unearths the contours of the struggles to mine the minerals essential for America's energy transition. Combining reportorial grit with literary skill he vividly captures the physical and political landscapes over which the future is being fought." --Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations and The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
"Finally, the real story of the difficulties of mining and processing enough minerals in the US to supply a green, carbon free energy transition. Scheyder introduces us to the people living in our mining communities whose lives are greatly affected by America's goal to de-carbon energy. In this telling we confront the reality that there are no easy answers or quick fixes. We are also made uncomfortable with the ethics of wanting to preserve our beautiful places, while we rely on foreign supply chains where minerals are mined and processed with no real attention to environmental, labor, and human rights abuses."
--Heidi Heitkamp, Former United States Senator of North Dakota