Author(s): Sonia Shah
An elegantly written and gripping history of 'black gold', from its geological birth millions of years ago to its ascendancy as the indispensable ingredient of modern life - this is the whole story of crude oil.
The story of oil is written on a time scale that humans can barely grasp, but it starts with something innocuous and seemingly peripheral: the slimy dregs at the bottom of the sea...
Crude tells the unexpurgated story of oil and its crucial role in everyday modern life. This story is about far more than fuel and light. In addition to fueling our cars and illuminating our cities, crude oil and its by-products fertilize our crops, pave our roads, and make plastic possible. Without nitrogen fertilizer, about two-fifths of the world's population would not be alive. The Western world's newborn babies are caught by hands in petro-plastic gloves, swaddled in petro-polyester blankets and warmed by oil-powered heaters. The few remaining wood products (such as this book) are extracted by oil-powered machines travelling on oil-covered roads. The modern world is soaked, drenched, saturated in oil.
Crude tells the gripping tale of how it came to be. A great human drama emerges, of discovery and innovation, risk, the promise of riches, and the power of greed.
Shah infuses recent twists in the story with equal drama, through chronicles of colourful modern-day characters - from the hundreds of Nigerian women who stormed a Chevron plant to a monomaniacal scientist for whom life is the pursuit of this earth-blood and its elusive secret. Shah masterfully captures the many sides of the indispensable mineral that we someday - sooner than we realise - may have to find a way to live without.
This is not a Michael Moore-style anti-corporate rant - Shah writes beautifully, with dispassionate, elegant clarity - and it is all the more powerful for it.' (Stephen Poole, the Guardian)... this disturbing book could hardly be timelier.' (Graham Williams, Sydney Morning Herald)
Preface: For the love of oilIntroduction: Oil is bornChapter 1: The eclipse of coalChapter 2: Exile from TethysChapter 3: Into the coldChapter 4: Rockefeller's ghostChapter 5: Refining the huntChapter 6: AftershocksChapter 7: The curse of crudeChapter 8: Carbon perilsChapter 9: Running on emptyChapter 10: Challengers, old and newConclusion: Death throes