Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Crude: The Story of Oil” as Want to Read:
Crude: The Story of Oil
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Crude: The Story of Oil

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  89 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Crude is the unexpurgated story of oil, from the circumstances of its birth millions of years ago to the spectacle of its rise as the indispensable ingredient of modern life. In addition to fueling our SUVs and illuminating our cities, crude oil and its byproducts fertilize our produce, pave our roads, and make plastic possible. "Newborn babies," observes author Sonia Shah ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Seven Stories Press (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Crude, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Crude

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 20, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: resource eco-nomists and eco-types
Recommended to Stephen by: my son
Very fine book about crude oil and big oil. Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. To my surprise this was very far from being the one of the ten biggest oil spills A good companion book to Peter Maas's Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil published about the same time. Shah's book is more about oil biology, geology, ecology, recovery methods (good insights on deep water drilling and the Ocean Ranger ...more
Seth D Michaels
Great until it goes extremely wrong.

Most of the way through, this book is quite good - a well-explained, brief-but-detailed summary of the history, science and economics behind oil and the problems our reliance on it can cause, with an obvious but not obtrusive left-wing analytical lens. However, it was written in 2004, and as such it is badly dated - missing major events later on that expand, complicate or change the story Shah is telling. Chapter 9, in particular, is premised on the concept of
Aug 30, 2007 Sara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: who's curious to know more about the politics of "the black gold"; who's interested in human rights
Shelves: global
Oil: a blessing and a curse at the same time. It is such a controversial topic - maybe that is the reason why it is so fascinating.

It's a blessing, of course - it is the source of energy par excellence, that allows the exporting countries to get ridiculously rich.

It's a curse, sure it is - in the countries in which you can find big oil fields, even though they are very different from each other (Venezuela and Algeria, Iran and Perù, Sudan and Saudia Arabia...), after the first drillings their s
Feb 11, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing
Our foreign policy, our currency, our economy, our environment, our lifestyle all based on oil. It's dirty, it smells, it poisons; but we need it we need it bad and at the same time it can't be too expensive. This is an awesome survey of how oil runs the world in good ways and in bad. Very informative facts that enlightens us to just how much oil we end up using in a day; and the sacrifices made(by both the guilty and the innocent)to get us our oil. Had to give this a 5 star, we can never under- ...more
Nov 10, 2014 6655321 rated it liked it
this is like, a well written and researched book but suffers from the problem that (like a lot of science writing with a political bend) most of the things that it is responding to (in a political context) are already passed which isn't like a slight on Sonia Shah (who is a really engaging writer) but rather its a problem that sort of gets at the roots of writing this sort of thing (it becomes obsolete or dated rather quickly).
Jun 21, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it
Solid book on oil. starts with how oil is formed and moves into the economics and politics of oil production. Basically, talks about how the discover of oil in a country creates civil war, destroys the environment, and makes the people worse off.
Jul 28, 2014 Jennyb rated it really liked it
Avoids the obvious areas related to this topic that we all know about, and goes off in some fascinating directions. One of the more interesting books on this topic I've read, precisely because it veers off the familiar path.
Kathy Allert
Nov 20, 2012 Kathy Allert rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Read this on my Nook in the dark during the recent power outage/Hurricane Sandy. Fascinating history/critique of the oil industry.
Jun 07, 2011 Samantha rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting and disheartening look at the oil industry and it's history. Although it was written before the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
Antonio rated it really liked it
Mar 02, 2007
Cate rated it liked it
Apr 17, 2011
Tanvi rated it liked it
Jan 24, 2012
Carol B.
Carol B. rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2015
Heather rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2011
Dre rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2017
Kelsey rated it really liked it
May 22, 2014
Dylan Wooters
Dylan Wooters rated it really liked it
Aug 01, 2008
Jose rated it it was amazing
Sep 22, 2012
Cynthia rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2008
Hannah Jones
Hannah Jones rated it liked it
Nov 01, 2015
Deb rated it really liked it
Oct 31, 2008
Jill rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2008
Tonwallast rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2012
Becky rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2011
James Pentony
James Pentony rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2016
Rick rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2012
Laura rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2015
Cam rated it it was amazing
Aug 06, 2013
Todd rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2008
Ty rated it liked it
Nov 25, 2010
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • City Room
  • Roy G Biv
  • Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing
  • Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions
  • Learning to Live Finally: The Last Interview
  • The Forgotten Presidents: Their Untold Constitutional Legacy
  • The Omnivorous Mind: Our Evolving Relationship with Food
  • God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad
  • Bring On The Apocalypse
  • The Bear: History of a Fallen King
  • The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
  • Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War
  • Captive
  • The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination
  • Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
  • The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
  • Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World's Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation
  • The Rural Life
Sonia Shah is a science journalist and prize-winning author. Her writing on science, politics, and human rights has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American and elsewhere. Her work has been featured on RadioLab, Fresh Air, and TED, where her talk, “Three Reasons We Still Haven’t Gotten Rid of Malaria” has been viewed by over 1,000,000 people aro ...more
More about Sonia Shah...

Share This Book