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.
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
which covers some of the same ground. Brendan DriscollCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved