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Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout Paperback – October 22, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
On some issues the author shows he is out of his depth. The "most common cause of aircraft accidents" is certainly not "running out of fuel" (page 45). His physics is off stating hydraulic rams closed with "explosive force--as much as 5,000 psi" (p 39). That widows would say after the tragedy their husbands had experienced premonitions is not objective evidence (p 32). And I was looking for more insight than "that night, everything that could go wrong did go wrong." A better book will explain how the Deepwater Horizon fits into Charles Perrow's Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies paradigm. A better book will read more like Diane Vaughan's The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA.
This book stuck me as an oil drilling insider rushing to quickly tap one more gusher of money, and not worthy of the serious subject matter. I hope you find this review helpful.
The first signs appeared in late spring. Holes developed on leaves on trees and plants in gardens. Leaves turned white and soon crumbled into dust. And we recognized a truth: The disaster that was the Deep Horizon well would have consequences far beyond those being reported in the mainstream media. We knew that millions of gallons of oil could not have been consumed by hungry microbes. We knew that Gulf seafood, once the pride of our tables, was no longer safe to consume.
We hoped that BP's promises to clean up their mess would be fulfilled. We hoped that our government would protect the people and the environment of the Gulf. Now we see that our hopes will not be realized, that the destruction of the Gulf Coast, begun by Katrina and Rita, will be finalized by Deep Horizon.
But what happened that led to such catastrophe? How could so many `fail-safe' systems have failed and led to the deaths of 11 men and the destruction of an entire regional economy? Bob Cavnar, an oilman with decades of hands-on experience in the oil and gas industry in addition to academic credentials, gives us the information we weren't getting before.
His is a tale of greed, carelessness, and deception. Unfortunately, it's no work of fiction but a chronicle of events that led up to and beyond the worst oil spill in US history. Cavnar explains not only what happened on the Deep Horizon but the history of well blowouts and what should be done to prevent such disasters from occurring in the future.
Read this book for a clearer understanding of deep water drilling. Read it to grasp the collusion between BP and the US government. Read it to understand where we're heading as a nation dependent on oil. Read it and weep for lives destroyed.
Cavnar has produced a well-written, well-documented (over 200 references in his bibliography [endnotes]) volume that speaks clearly to those of us who know nothing about drilling or capping oil wells. If, like me, you wanted to know more than you were getting from the nightly news, read this book.
Thank you, Mr. Cavnar
This book should be recommended reading to everyone in Congress, in the White House and especially in every oil company. He has pointed out exactly what happens when corners are cut, safety regulations are ignored or dismantled entirely.
Our very future is at stake.
Well done, Mr. Cavnar.
Where I found the book to be a bit lacking, and why I gave it only a 3 star rating, is because I felt that the book was coming too much from the author's perspective. I did not feel that this was a truly nuanced and balanced account of what happened. It seemed that the author took a great deal of his own personal knowledge and expertise, and mixed in a healthy does of speculation and personal opinion. Again, it made for an interesting read, but I did not come away feeling that I had just read a truly factual and unbiased account of what happened.
I haven't read any other books about the disaster, so I can't comment as to how this compares. Bottom line, if you want an interesting perspective and explanation as to what happened, I think you will find this a good book. Just don't count on it as the definitive and exhaustive account of the BP Disaster.