Library Journal
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This book does not require recent events in the Persian Gulf to make it an essential addition for most public libraries as well as all college libraries. Written by one of the foremost U.S. authorities on energy, it is a major work in the field, replete with enough insight to satisfy the scholar and sufficient concern with the drama and colorful personalities in the history of oil to capture the interest of the general public. Though lengthy, the book never drags in developing its themes: the relationship of oil to the rise of modern capitalism; the intertwining relations between oil, politics, and international power; and the relationship between oil and society in what Yergin calls today's age of ``Hydrocarbon Man.'' Parts of the story have been told as authoritatively before, e.g., in Irvine Anderson's Aramco: The United States and Saudi Arabia ( LJ 7/81), but never in as comprehensive a fashion as here.-- Joseph R. Rudolph Jr., Towson State Univ., Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly
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Yergin ( Shattered Peace ), a much-quoted energy consultant, here offers a timely, information-packed, authoritative history of the petroleum industry, tracing its ramifications, national and geopolitical, to the present day. Oil, ``the world's biggest and most pervasive business,'' he shows, has played a central role in most of the major wars and many of the critical international situations of the 20th century, has changed the lives of virtually everyone on the planet and is currently at the heart of the first post-Cold War crisis of the 1990s. Yergin describes how, after an oil glut replaced the panic at the pump of the early 1980s, ``Hydrocarbon Man'' once again took petroleum for granted--only to be shattered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait this past August. Whatever the evolution of the international order, oil will remain the ultimate strategic prize, predicts the author in a book that will be widely discussed. He points out, however, that the environmental movement is gaining significant strength as more and more citizens of the world express a willingness to trade off energy production for environmental protection. Photos. Major ad/promo. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved