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Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources Paperback – December 21, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title of this look at the oil economy is misleading, as only a small portion of the book addresses journalist Hiro's belief in an imminent scramble for oil resembling 19th-century European colonialist power struggles. What he describes is not so much conflict over the control of resources as an economic battle spurred by the entry of nations like China and India into the oil production economy. He also spends a lot of time recapping the early 20th-century history of oil production, with a lengthy digression into alternative energy sources. Hiro (Secrets and Lies) brings an undisguised left-wing slant to his reportage, declaring unequivocally that the Bush administration chose to invade Iraq to get at its oil reserves, while praising Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez for using oil money to launch progressive opposition to American interests. He also criticizes the media for not doing enough to call attention to global warming and hammers repeatedly on the obvious point that energy companies have a vested interest in keeping consumers "hooked on oil and gas." The resulting hodgepodge of reportage and analysis fails to meet the standard of Paul Roberts's The End of Oil, still the go-to book on this subject. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A prolific commentator on Middle East geopolitics (lately, Iran and Iraq), Hiro here turns his attention to the geopolitics of oil, which he sees to be a significant exacerbating factor in--if not the outright cause of--the world's major conflicts. Part history of oil-fueled international tensions, part meditation on oil's ubiquity, and part push for alternative energy sources, Hiro blends past and present, politics and geology, reportage and analysis. As with his previous works, Hiro adeptly synthesizes copious amounts of complex information into insightful narratives, making this a worthy addition to a growing list of recent works about our current energy crisis. His straightforward tone and proclivity for picturesque illustrations (the bobbing "donkey pumps" of the West Texas oil fields and the rusty oil rigs off the Caspian shoreline, for example) also make this selection highly accessible for general audiences. Readers primarily interested in pragmatic plans for the future of the energy industry (or those easily put off by strong criticism of the Bush administration), however, may prefer Peter Tertzakian'sThousand Barrels a Second (2006), which covers some of the same ground. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (December 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560255447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560255444
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,441,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've read a number of books on this topic, so I already had a little background. This book is readable but slightly longer than it might need to be based on some sections that are almost like digressions. Overall though, this book presents a nice background to the history of oil production and the current situation. A nice aspect is that there is coverage of many countries both with respect to their oil history, and their present and future consumption. There is also some coverage of alternative energy sources. In many spots, the apparent research is impressive. The author has either first-hand knowledge of what he is talking about or he has done his background research. There isn't quite as much emphasis on the perils of possible oil depletion as you might find in some other books, but the subject is touched on. There are some quircky aspects to the book. For one, the author seems to feel it necessary to give descriptions of facial features of everyone he mentions in the book. There are also some points at which the book seems to wander from the topic slightly. There are other books that present similar information, some of which are perhaps better than this one, but this is a decent starting place if you are interested in this topic.
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Format: Paperback
Dilip Hiro's very readable book covers the politics associated with the major discoveries of oil as well as the technological changes associated with it that have completely changed our lives in such a way that we would not know how to live without the products created from oil. His dire warnings about global warming echo those of Al Gore and are a must read. As Americans we are very naive about the reason for the premptive strike on Iraq--it was not for WMD or Saddam, but for oil. This book clearly confirms that by blowing away the rhetoric and looking at the facts. A must read for everyone who cares about the planet.
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Oil & its by-products are the life blood of every American. But... cheap, abundant oil is running out, plain and simple. The end of this cheap & abundant energy could be a gut wrenching experience for us all, maybe even a matter of survival.

You owe it to yourself, family and loved-ones to have a good understanding of this problem. This book should be fundamental reading for every American so each can a) understand the problem, b) make some contribution to it's solution, and c) develop personal strategies to implement for their future well-being when times get tough. Folks... it can and will get alot worse than $4.00/gallon... the only question is when and how bad. Alternative energy development has been on the back burner too long and probably will not satisfy our energy needs before it get really bad when oil availability diminishes to unacceptable levels.

Everyone has an opinion on "oil"... but if you read this book, you'll have a much better understanding of the situation... hey, get a little education on the subject. It is very well researched and the 92 chronology of dates alone in the back of the book (pgs. 375-380) is probably worth the price of the book. Learn this chronology and you will be a hit at the next cocktail party.

This could easily be the text for a class in school...

1) When & where was the first commerical oil well drilled in the U.S.
2) When did oil begin to replace coal as a major source of fuel for steamships?
3) Who runs the first automobile with an internal combustion engine and when was it?
4) What year did U.S. Antitrust laws break up Standard Oil?
5) By the way, who owned Standard Oil at the time? Many people will miss this question actually...
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Dilip Hiro is a regular contributor to TomDispatch. In Blood of The Earth, he discusses the history of oil, its methods of extraction and processing and the politics of diminishing available reserves. There is also some discussion in the book of alternative sources of ...energy and their practical application in the coming years. The short conclusion is that we need a combination of resources, including continued use of fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable sources in order to sustain the world's energy demands in the coming decades.
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Powerful and informing. Denial is not an option for the future of this planet if we do not ween our selfs off this stuff. We as a specie along with all the other diversified living organisms on this little inter dependent sphere.
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