Most helpful critical review
145 of 165 people found the following review helpful
Disjointed, but accurate information
on March 2, 2004
I have been researching the topic of oil depletion by reading (& buying!) many books. I was hoping that this small volume would provide a nice, condensed, well-argued version to hand to friends and family. I was wrong.
While Goodstein lays out the usual scenario regarding oil depletion and correctly explains differences between "remaining years" via the Hubbert's Peak method and the R/P method, much of the information is seemingly unconnected.
Yes, I know that the Laws of Thermodynamics apply. But I have read much clearer explanations of those laws in Freshman Physics in college. While "pithy", his explanations are not exactly clear or self-evident to the casual reader. And, once Thermodynamics are explored, the reader is left wondering WHY was all that explained? How does that connect to oil depletion? I know, because I have been studying this in other books, but this book does not link the theoretical explanations clearly with the problem of a shortage in oil production, available energy, etc.
I have read books that were longer and more clear on the subject; books that are a faster, easier and more understandable read than this brief volume. The first I would recommend is "The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies" by Richard Heinberg. This is an excellent well-rounded review of all issues regarding oil depletion.
For the reader who would like to explore the geological aspects in more depth (why can't we explore for more? what about making existing fields more productive? how is oil formed and where is it found?), I would recommend "Hubbert's Peak" by Kenneth Deffeyes, an associate of King Hubbert.
I'm sorry I paid so much for this slim little volume. Those books I recommended will cost you much less, are more clear, and easier to digest than this one.
Note: "Charts, graphs, photographs" in the Editors Review should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, there are charts and illustrations, but they are simplistic. Some of the inserted illustrations are almost child-like.