Read Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives by Albert Marrin Online

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Oil is not pretty, but it is a resource that drives the modern world.  It has made fortunes for the lucky few and provided jobs for millions of ordinary folks.Thick and slippery, crude oil has an evil smell. Yet without it, life as we live it today would be impossible. Oil fuels our engines, heats our homes, and powers the machines that make the everyday things we take forOil is not pretty, but it is a resource that drives the modern world.  It has made fortunes for the lucky few and provided jobs for millions of ordinary folks.Thick and slippery, crude oil has an evil smell. Yet without it, life as we live it today would be impossible. Oil fuels our engines, heats our homes, and powers the machines that make the everyday things we take for granted, from shopping bags to computers to medical equipment. Nations throughout the last century have gone to war over it.  Indeed, oil influences every aspect of modern life. It helps shape the history, society, politics, and economy of every nation on earth.This riveting new book explores what oil is and the role this precious resource has played in America and the world....

Title : Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375866739
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives Reviews

  • Maggie
    2018-09-07 01:53

    The subject is petroleum, from history to the search for alternative energy sources. Many little-known facts are included. For example, during WWII only the US had developed 100 octane fuel, which gave a decisive advantage to Allied fighter planes.The book’s errors in science create confusion and misconceptions that students may carry into report writing. Citing no reference, page 131 claims that dispersants used on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill “are 10,000 times deadlier to sea life than crude oil itself.” EPA tests demonstrated dispersants are no more toxic than oil. Page135 credits global warming for shrinking glaciers (a process going on since the Little Ice Age ended around 1850) AND for possible cooling, harsher winters, and the advance of glaciers in some areas. Page 136 calls carbon dioxide “the chief greenhouse gas,” but water vapor accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect. Pages 136 and 137 discuss acid rain from burning coal, but omit how this has been drastically reduced by flue gas desulfurization systems. Page 145 states, “Motor vehicles can burn pure ethanol instead of gasoline.” Yet, tests show that even 15% of ethanol in gasoline can damage car and truck engines. Worldwide, geothermal electrical power plants are working without extracting underground water, yet page 153 states “steam from underground water may contain harsh chemicals that ruin turbines and, if released into the air, spread pollution.”The reliability of other parts of the book should be questioned.

  • Richard Reese
    2018-09-11 23:56

    Albert Marrin is a history professor who has written dozens books for young readers. In Black Gold, he discussed the geology of fossil energy, emergence of the oil industry, geopolitics, oil wars, environmental impacts, and future challenges. I was intrigued by his perspective on geopolitics.Before World War One, the British navy scrapped many coal-burning warships and began building modern boats that ran on oil. This gave them a big advantage over the German navy. The era of industrial warfare had arrived. Nations with tanks, trucks, and planes could easily smash horse-powered enemies.America joined the war in 1917, and brought lots of oil. German ports were blockaded, their war machine ran out of fuel, and they were defeated. In this new era, for the first time, oil became essential for military success. Young Hitler grasped this, and so did the British. A primary objective of the Brits was to seize control of Middle Eastern oil, a yet-to-be developed treasure that made greedy gits giddy. They succeeded, invented new nations, and found obedient puppets to rule them (and loot them).Of course, wealth and power frequently turns decent people into obnoxious monsters. Troublesome puppets were replaced with new ones, Britain got very rich, and the Arabs and Persians developed an intense hatred of Brits. In World War Two, Hitler launched his oil-powered blitzkrieg, made a beeline for oily Baku, and planned to grab the Persian Gulf. In this war, American oil once again came to the rescue.Germany and Japan learned the hard way that running out of oil is for losers. Everyone knows this today. U.S. presidents have poured trillions of dollars into maintaining control of oil, whilst jabbering about freedom, democracy, and weapons of mass destruction. For some mysterious reason, millions of Middle Eastern folks now loath and detest the U.S.In Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabis are a sect that perceives most of modernity as pure evil. They don’t look fondly on the lavish lifestyles of the ruling Saud family. Marrin asserts that the government agreed to subsidize the spread of Wahhabi schools into other regions. In exchange for this funding, the Wahhabis agreed not to make trouble in Arabia — but trouble anywhere else was OK. “In short, Saudi oil profits fueled terrorism.”Russia now controls much of the natural gas that powers Europe, and Western powers are eager for an alternative, a pipeline from the Middle East that bypasses Russian control. It would be reasonable to conclude that the coming decades are not going to be a sweet celebration of love, peace, and happiness. Expect big drama as the age of hydrocarbons swirls the drain, climate change pounds the luckless, and Big Mama Nature hurls overshoot overboard.The rear end of Marrin’s book was annoying. The book is intended for use in schools. He recommends that the U.S. should become energy independent as soon as possible. The best solution, he says, is a combination of fossil fuels and alternative energy — solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal, nuclear (no mention of sharply reducing consumption). The assumption is that independence is possible, and that the consumer way of life will be free to continue down the path of mindless self-destruction.Teachers, librarians, and parents should have an above average understanding of energy issues before selecting books on the subject. These issues are going to have a staggering impact on the lives of the target audience, young readers. It’s long past time to sit down with youngsters and have a highly embarrassing birds-and-bees discussion about the fact that the abundant energy bubble is going to turn into a pumpkin during the lifetimes. Preserving their ignorance seems cruel.In the book, readers learn that nuclear reactors can generate lots of electricity, but they occasionally barf large amounts of radiation all over the place. Therefore, it’s very important to properly dispose of spent fuel because it’s extremely toxic. Great idea! How? William and Rosemary Alley discussed this issue in Too Hot to Touch. They note that today “there are some 440 nuclear power plants in 31 countries. More are on the way. Yet, no country on Earth has an operating high-level waste disposal facility.”Obama cancelled plans for the Yucca Mountain site, which was as close to perfect as is possible — after 25 years of research at a cost of $10 billion. Because it was cancelled, spent fuel rods continue building up, many of them temporarily stored in cooling ponds. If the circulating pumps for the cooling ponds stop, the water boils, the pool evaporates, and the rods are exposed to air, melt, and release radioactive gasses. The meltdowns at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima were triggered by overheated fuel rods.Readers also learn that the U.S. has huge coal reserves, enough for 250 years at the current rate of consumption. To understand why this is a meaningless statement, watch one of the many versions of Albert Bartlett’s famous lecture, Arithmetic, Population, and Energy on YouTube. Every student and teacher should watch it.Read Jeff Rubin’s book, The Big Flatline. You’ll learn that the production of top quality anthracite coal peaked in 1950, and grade B bituminous coal peaked in 1990. There is abundant grade C coal, lignite, which is especially filthy to burn. Since lignite is so low in energy, it cannot be shipped long distances profitably. It is absurd to use 100 calories of diesel to haul 100 calories of low quality coal.This is an extremely important issue — energy returned on energy invested (EROEI). The book doesn’t mention this. EROEI is also highly relevant to oil. Rubin and others note that in the good old days of high-profit gushers, it was common to invest one calorie of energy to produce 100 calories of oil (100:1). By 2010, typical EROEI was about 17:1, and some are predicting 5:1 by 2020.Rising prices enable the extraction of difficult and expensive non-conventional oil and gas. At some point, declining EROEI makes extraction pointless, regardless of market prices. Consequently, most of the oil in Canadian tar sands will be left where it is. The EROEI of tar sands now in production is about 3:1, and 5:1 for shale deposits.Readers learn about renewable energy, like wind, solar, and hydro. See Ted Trainer’s book,Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain a Consumer Society . Learn about the significant shortcomings of the various types of alternative energy. Discover why no combination of them will ever come anywhere close to replacing the energy now provided by fossil fuel. Discover why we will not enjoy a smooth and painless transition to a sustainable, renewable energy future.The education system, from grade schools to universities, seems to be largely committed to a “don’t scare the children” strategy. We don’t want to fill kids with despair about their grisly inheritance. Also, publishers want to avoid discussions that piss off poorly informed parents, or the politically powerful titans of industry. The publisher did allow Marrin to drop hints that there might be some trouble in the future. It’s a touchy game. Sales can be harmed by too little reality, or too much. The book’s takeaway message is that we have the solutions for our energy challenges, but we don’t have a lot of time to fool around. Things will be OK, probably, maybe. Is that likely?

  • Richie Partington
    2018-09-05 22:57

    Richie's Picks: BLACK GOLD: THE STORY OF OIL IN OUR LIVES by Albert Marrin, Knopf, January 2012, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-375-86673-9"And with the radio blastingGoes cruising just as fast as she can nowAnd she'll have fun, fun fun'Till her daddy takes the T-Bird away"-- Brian Wilson & Mike Love, "Fun Fun Fun""Asphalt also helped the dead 'live' forever. Ancient Egyptians believed in life after death. But to gain eternal life, a corpse had to be mummified--that is, embalmed and dried to prevent decay. Asphalt was a key ingredient in turning a corpse into a mummy; the word comes from mumiyyah, Arabic for 'asphalt.' Since Egypt had little asphalt, merchants traveled to the Dead Sea, in what is today Israel, to trade with the local Arabs for it. The king of Syria, hoping to profit from the trade, sent an army to occupy the area. Furious that a foreign 'thief' should control the fate of their dead, the Egyptians sent an army in 312 BC, thus winning history's first war for oil."As we learn from BLACK GOLD, there are over a quarter-billion registered motor vehicles in America today, one for every 1.1 people. No matter what belated efforts we as a society might someday finally undertake to both radically increase fuel efficiency and develop more convenient mass transit systems -- systems that will really take significant numbers of cars off the road -- those of us alive today will undoubtedly spend the rest of our days having our daily lives inexorably intertwined with fossil fuels. And it sure as heck doesn't feel like we've seen the last of wars for oil. So how did we get here? Beginning with a geologic- and chemical-related exploration of how -- over millions of years -- coal, oil, and natural gas has come to be, Albert Marrin provides a mind-blowing scientific, economic, sociological, environmental, and geopolitical history of the petroleum-based energy resources that are the core of our modern civilization and the core of our civilization's most intractable problems and conflicts."The town buzzed with excitement, and smelled to high heaven, thanks to all that oil. 'The whole place,' a visitor said, 'smelled like a corps of soldiers when they have diarrhea.'"This book is a gas.We learn that it was because of the eighteenth century need for bright and safe lighting fuel, and because of the rapidly depleting supply of whales for whale oil, and because it was discovered that kerosene could be extracted from petroleum, that smart and ambitious "Colonel" Edwin L. Drake was hired by a business group to drill for oil on Oil Creek in Titusville, Pennsylvania (a stream known for its oil seeps).After a few failed attempts at developing a technology for oil drilling:"What Drake did next would make him famous as the father of the petroleum industry. His solution became the model for all future oil-well drilling. It popped into his mind suddenly, as if by magic. Drake bought sections of iron pipe; he called them drive pipe, because he would drive them into the ground with a battering ram made of an oak log. As the lower sections went deeper, he would attach a new section at the top and then run the drill string through the pipe. This way the pipe kept the water out while the drill attacked the rock below."On August 28, 1859, the drill broke into reservoir rock near the surface, at a depth of sixty-nine feet. Oil bubbled up, flowing at a rate of twenty-five gallons a day. At first, Drake stored it in wooden washtubs bought from farmers' wives. When these ran out, he bought up all the used whiskey barrels he could find, each holding forty-two gallons. That set the standard. A barrel of oil always has the same amount as an old-time whiskey barrel."".19"-- old gas station price sign I remember seeing, back in the late sixties, for gas at 19 cents per gallon After taking us back through earlier days, covering topics like trust busting and discovering Texas's black gold, author Albert Marrin guides us through an outstanding examination of WWII from the perspective of petroleum. Then he tops that by unraveling a century of Middle Eastern oil and geopolitics. And then he dives into the environmental effects of our search for and use of petroleum. I cannot believe that the author fits everything I just learned, about arguably the most important issues in our world today, in a mere 152 pages plus backmatter."Damn this traffic jamHow I hate to be lateIt hurts my motor to go so slowDamn this traffic jamTime I get home my supper'll be coldDamn this traffic jam"-- James Taylor"The United States has an 'energy intensive' economy and society. The numbers speak for themselves:Our country has 5 percent of the world's population but uses 26 percent of its energy. As of 2008, Americans used seventeen million barrels of oil each day. It takes seven gallons of gasoline per person -- man, woman, and child -- to run the country each day. We burn one out of every seven barrels of oil produced in the world on our highways. Drivers waste twelve million barrels of oil each year stalled in traffic jams."Middle Eastern oil-producing countries disliking us. Escalating fuel costs and steadily decreasing supplies. Global warming and massive pollution. Are we all doomed, or what?As Marrin points out, no solution will come easily or cheaply. He concludes the story of oil in our lives with a look at some of the options...and tough choices...we have.BLACK GOLD is a truly significant work of youth literature. Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://[email protected] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_...http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...

  • Rebecca Sofferman
    2018-09-18 02:13

    Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives is a welcome addition to the middle or high school library. The book provides a concise yet thorough summary of both the scientific and political aspects of humans’ relationship with oil. While focused on the US, the book describes the development of oil dependence throughout the world over time, and highlights the contributions of key individuals in the process. Some chapters are more scientific in nature – describing the process of oil creation and refinement, or outlining alternative energy technologies. Other chapters focus on the politics and economics of oil, including entire chapters devoted to certain dictators’ obsessions with oil and the power it could bring, and how this quest for power helped shape wars and conflicts worldwide throughout history.This book includes an index, glossary, bibliographical notes, and many black and white illustrations with captions and citations. Also embedded within the text are charts and diagrams to explain scientific and economic concepts, where needed.Comments on how to use in a school setting:This book has Common Core written all over it. The narrative is accessible, and would work well as a Common Core informational text for economics, earth science, or even history/global studies classes researching the relationship between humans and oil. I’m always looking for nonfiction titles that read like stories, in the hopes that students might just pick them up for independent reading. I could see that happening with this title. The book is fairly short, with a good glossary, appropriate for most middle school and high school students.This book is essentially a cautionary tale about the history and the dangers of dependence on oil as an energy source and economic engine. It is clearly aimed at young adult readers, with chapter titles such as “A Freak of Geology,” and thorough explanations of concepts and kingpin individuals. More mature readers might find this title a bit too basic, although entertaining.

  • Amy Lignor
    2018-08-27 22:11

    As we all know, oil has been a benefit to this world, while at the same time being the cause of some of the worst nightmares, wars, and agony that we’ve ever seen. In many ways, most people on this planet wish that oil had never been found; if so, perhaps we would not be in the situation economically or socially that we are in right now.In this new work of nonfiction, the author has provided everything from the very beginnings of oil to how this substance has saved lives, taken lives, and how the future looks for the next generation as oil takes over as the hottest property anyone can possibly own. Deadly sins have come from oil - jealousy, envy, even hate - yet without this particular ‘find’ there are millions of machines and innovative devices that wouldn’t exist. So…what’s worse? Uncovering myths and legends, such as the fact that oil did not come from decayed dinosaurs (which is a popular belief). In fact, this substance is what remains of life forms that lived in the ocean millions of years ago. To Gas-powered cars that were once called healthy and clean because they replaced the amazing amount of horse manure that covered the streets across the country. Above all, without oil, most of the items we take for granted nowadays would not be available. Therefore the good must be taken with the bad. Right?An intriguing reference that truly coves all aspects - known and unknown - about the black gold that perhaps still will have a hand in the demise of the human race.Until Next Time, Everybody.Amy

  • Shaundell
    2018-08-25 19:59

    Loved this book! The title and picture on the cover really grabbed my attention from the very beginning: "Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives". Everything, absolutely everything, we do in this life is affected by energy and everyone could benefit from reading this book.The author, Albert Marin, first started describing how oil is made. He titles chapter one as "a freak of geology"; from there he describes how drilling begin and how people, such as John D. Rockefeller, became wealthy from oil. My favorite part of the book was the history of nations and wars over/with/because of oil. As a young child I remember the oil cruch in 1973, and in hearing about the Iran controversery with Ayatollah Khomeini coming into power, then the American hostages held for 444 days, their release shortly after Ronald Regean became president, and the Iran/Iraq War. At the time I was too young to understand much; but this book put it all into perspective. I understand more of the role of OPEC and Saudia Arabia and what we as citizens of this world need to do to find new energy sources. Fasinating information! I would really like to read other books written by Albert Marrin.

  • Bethany Miller
    2018-09-21 20:06

    Black Gold explores the significance of oil in the lives of humans. The author begins by explaining how fossil fuels were formed. He then traces the use of fossil fuels from antiquity to the present showing how humans have become increasingly dependent upon them over time. Marrin places special emphasis on the ways in which oil has played a role in political conflicts and wars throughout history. He goes on to describe the environmental consequences of fossil fuels as well as their increasing scarcity. The book concludes with a chapter describing the pros and cons of various alternative sources of energy.Black Gold is a clearly written, up-to-date resource that will be useful for students who are researching the topic of fossil fuels. It will be especially useful for those who want to understand the social, political and historical context of oil. There are black and white photos and diagrams throughout the book, but most don’t add much to the text. This will be a useful resource for student reports but probably won’t have much of an audience for pleasure reading. Includes bibliographical references, a short glossary and an index. Recommended.

  • Adrienne
    2018-09-10 01:56

    Albert Marrin's timely book starts out explaining what oil is and where is comes from, then moves into its impact on the world, particularly how it relates to warfare, both in the sense that more oil reserves make for a better army and in the sense that countries are willing to go to war to get more. The book also discusses the problems with oil--such as natural disasters and the dwindling supply and concludes by discussing some possible alternatives to relying on oil and the pros and cons of each.The book starts out slowly--the explanation of how we get oil is a little dry--but then it picks up considerably. Readers who push through will be rewarded with an enlightening look at how oil impacts us--and will likely be worried that the dwindling oil supply will run out any minute. Despite striking fear into the heart of the reader (or maybe because of it), this is the type of book that really makes readers think about the world we live in. Another excellent piece of nonfiction from Marrin.

  • Joan
    2018-09-02 02:02

    This is the sort of book I've been looking for and a perfect example of the use of YA nonfiction to explain a complex subject clearly even for adults. I learned a lot from this book. It talks about the physical origin of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal), the history of the usage of fossil fuels, how the modern industry started, how the history of the Middle East is all about oil (which I knew but had no idea how much of the history was impacted by oil) and finally, the issues with oil, such as it running out and dirtying the environment and how it has lead to issues with climate change. He then reviews all the currently possible sources of fuel, pointing out the benefits and problems of each type, such as nuclear, geothermal, wind and solar and concludes that we have to move to an alternative future without oil. This book should win some awards in January. We'll see if it does or if the conclusion is too controversial for ALA and related groups.

  • Sue
    2018-09-04 21:53

    I only hated one thing about this book: that it ended.I learned so much and understand so much now. When it meandered, one learned so much more because of well-thought out illustration.Loved the format (fonts, layout, designs, decorations) and various well-placed pictures throughout. My idea of perfect.I had no idea. We hear bits and pieces but this kind of book, in summarized and illustrated form brings it all together. Good job. Very good read.

  • Paul Deutschmann
    2018-09-04 18:13

    I think that this is a very good book because it is the one book that clearly illustrates the worldwide importance of oil in a way that is interesting to all readers. It may not have the best topic, but it is written in such a good way that it is impossible not to enjoy it. 5 stars. And I am going to look for more books to read by this author.

  • Edward Sullivan
    2018-09-20 00:20

    An excellent economic and social history of the imapct impact oil has had and continues to have upon human civilization.

  • Sam Gaspar
    2018-09-17 19:12

    A little simplistic at times, but overall a very helpful overview of fossil fuels and why we need to shift towards renewables

  • Nancy
    2018-09-19 02:12

    Fascinating book about the history of oil. I learned so many things—how oil is processed, how asphalt is made, all the different ways it’s extracted. Highly recommended.

  • Alana
    2018-09-17 00:54

    interesting info. too preachy for me. and a bit delusional on 'clean energy' being clean. once you've got your nice solar panel it may be clean, but it's a dirty process to make one. and ammonia isn't only made from oil, i guess he never mucked out a stall before. it's the little things that stick in the craw.

  • Felecia Mandeville
    2018-09-06 00:53

    As a student who was weak in history, this timeline of the oil industry was exactly what I needed to understand all the players and how it affects my life today.

  • Chris
    2018-09-23 20:00

    This is an extremely readable history of oil, from how it formed over the millenia to the political up heaval and wars it has caused. I am not sure that all of Marrin's facts are straight, but he definitely touches on all the major points and he isn't afraid to show the ugly side of the oil business. I found it interesting and somewhat bothersome that he seemed to mention John D. Rockefeller's religious devotion. I wondered where he was going with this. Was he offering an argument that God meant Americans to control oil? But he then goes on to point out Rockefeller's cut-throat business and political dealings making it clear the man certainly didn't practice what he preached. He also pulls no punches in describing the steps the British empire took to maintain its hold on oil in the Middle East followed by the United States dealings with Saudia Arabia, Iran and Iraq. These are chapters every Americans should rightly be ashamed of. And he also makes clear that while the world is definitely moving toward finding alternative sources of energy, the tug-of-war over current oil reserves is unlikely to change anytime soon.

  • Read Ng
    2018-09-15 02:19

    I really enjoyed reading this, but it comes across to me like a "History" channel telling of Oil and it's role and future in our world. For the target audience it is simply wonderful. Not too in depth in the details, yet it tosses out some interesting tidbits of information new to me, such as the origins of the words mummy and derrick (and my imagination just spun off thinking about the original invention). I never thought much about what actually happens while drilling for oil and you hit that "gusher". This book is not for the serious reader, but it does help add background to our modern use of oil. It also adds perspective to some of my understanding of the politics of the oil rich Middle East region. It ends in a kind of weak prediction of the future of energy in the world. It does not try to paint a horrible doomsday portrayal of an oil-less planet.Overall, I found this to be an entertaining and informative GoodReads.

  • Caitlin Bennett
    2018-09-14 02:07

    This book hits on many of my questions I've had about how the world became so oil dependent. It begins with the modern discovery of oil & how its use evolved in the 20th & 21st centuries. Marrin was careful to remain unbiased as he explains the political climate surrounding global oil production. As a reader, I was able to make my own conclusions about our world's oil dependence. As a historian, this book was helpful for me to reduce how much I've passed judgment on our ancestors for adopting oil as a primary energy & product resource.This book is well researched and mostly well-written, but by the end I was bored of hearing of all of the political & environmental history & present day concerns.

  • Crispin Crispian
    2018-09-26 02:13

    This book is so filled with both historical and scientific inaccuracies I have a hard time understanding how it is in the non-fiction category. It gets basic facts of Rockefeller's life wrong, makes claims about chemical dispersants that run counter to EPA findings, makes claims about oil's calculated depletion date that are unsubstantiated (and grossly inaccurate based on all other publications) and fails to address known issues with alternatives (industrial ethanol pollutants, solar and wind unreliability for base load, wind's effect on birds, etc). Anyone who assigns this to their students to read is negligent.

  • Riley Poston
    2018-09-03 01:02

    This book is very descriptive about the history of oil and the leading up to the use of oil. The book describe the times before oil when people had to use horses and that when the horses would die that people would just leave there houses on the side of the road to decay. Witch caused lots of sickness to the community. The book also goes a little into the struggle and the work henry ford went thought while trying to find power for his engine. It also talked about what the invention of the car pros and cons were like no more sickness but it caused pollution (witch they did not know about at the time but it was a factor).

  • Mary Stovall
    2018-09-03 01:02

    I really enjoyed reading this non-fiction book about oil! I thought the author did a good job not focusing too much on the nitty gritty details and instead making oil matter to the reader. I learned about where oil came from, how it started a new age of technology and industry, and then how it has and still does cause wars and conflict. This is a great book to have kids read to truly understand why the Middle East is the way it is, and why we are so involved over there. This book honestly put it into perspective for me as to why the Middle East hates the West so much. Great read, and great for a classroom!

  • Julia
    2018-09-15 18:01

    An interesting and fairly thorough look at how oil has affected our lives and our world. For me, the history of oil was particularly fascinating. Marrin argues, pretty effectively, that all wars sinse World War One have been about control of oil in some way or another. Marrin also clearly shows how our existing relationship with oil is unsustainable. He explores the pros and cons of alternative energy sources briefly, but effectively. An all round good read for anyone interested in the environment, alternative engergies, and so on. Well worth reading.

  • ultimate reader
    2018-09-06 20:16

    I usually think that nonfiction books are a bore, but this one was pretty good. I didn't realize that we depended on oil so much. I also didn't realize that people used to wast so much oil either. It really gets you thinking. "what will happen when oil runs out? How will we power our homes, our cars, our lives, our computers? What will happen to all the technology, machines, and robots that we have made and have dreamt about? how will they run? A must read for anyone looking to find out more about oil, and even those who don't.

  • Ben
    2018-08-31 22:20

    I did not enjoy this book as much as I would have hoped to. The beginning of the book until aboutthe last 50 or so pages, because at that point the author bias becomes prominent and some of the information is almost pointless, unless having a longer book counts. Up until the modern parts of the book, it is enjoyable while still factual (but considering I know about the 20th century, I could be completely incorrect), but when it comes to modern times I know alot of information is incorrect/stretched.

  • Billy
    2018-09-08 20:04

    Despite some inexcusable errors (Istanbul is NOT the capital of Turkey, the photo of the Hoover Dam is NOT the Hoover Dam, melting icecaps will NEVER totally submerge Hawaii and Indonesia), this is a good history of oil and other fossil fuels and its impact on the planet. The oil wars of the 20th and 21st centuries are described in detail. The author clearly explains our dependence on fossil fuels, for better or worse, and why finding alternatives will be difficult but also necessary. NOTE: This is considered a young adult book.

  • Nicole
    2018-09-10 02:05

    7th, 8th, HS I anticipated a better read when I picked this book up at the library. I was quickly let down. Overall the book was too heavy on names and histories of the Middle East that wouldn't stick in my memory. I did learn some very interesting tid bits though! Like how horses created as much or more pollution/health issues than cars do. Plus a few more that I thought worthy of repeating to The Fiance, whether he liked it or not...Would be good for research.

  • Jessica
    2018-08-30 23:02

    I didn't realize it is a kid's book because I got it from the library on Kindle. I was getting frustrated at the juvenile tone and then realized it is probably for 6th graders. It doesn't come across as very reliable. it simplifies a lot of concepts and feels like it is leaving out important nuances or other sides of the story.

  • Beth
    2018-09-19 23:07

    What is the role of oil today? Have students heard that oil is a root of war? Yes, they have, but have they heard that oil affected WWI, WWII, and even Pearl Harbor? Many students have not. This novel explains how different fossil fuels are produced and how this impacts the world. It is also curious that automobiles seemed cleaner compared to horses, but the wastes are described in the novel.

  • Sara
    2018-09-23 18:59

    This fascinating history centers around our relationship with oil. I appreciate the unique perspective: a broad scope connected by a single thread. I recommend skimming/ignoring the first chapter, a speculative overview of prehistory related to oil and its origins. The remainder of the book is engaging, well-paced, and always thought-provoking. A small volume that is worth reading.