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Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  16 reviews
With unparalleled insight into BP and its safety record leading up to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Tom Bower gives us a groundbreaking, in-depth, and authoritative twenty-year history of the hunt and speculation for our most vital natural resource.


Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century

Twenty years ago oil cost about $7 a barrel. In 2008 the price soared t
Hardcover, 516 pages
Published June 3rd 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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This book was a bit too close to home. I have worked as an oil trader for nearly 30 years in the US and Singapore. Many of the characters and sources are familiar and, in some cases, business associates. I feel compelled to admit that what drew me to this book was not the cheap bargain basement price. I learned that an old business competitor/adversary was a major source for this book (in fact, there is an entire chapter devoted him). His colleagues disclosed to me that the book infuriated him. ...more
Oil plays such an important role in our lives. Oil, money, politics and power go hand in hand. It's amazing how much we depend on oil just to live our lives daily. I can remember when gas was $.99 per gallon and now it's usually around $2.50 in the area I live in. The price has went up a great deal and there are many reasons. If you want to understand oil and how it controls so much of what we do this is the book for you. Tom gets straight the basics and then elaborates, so the book has a certai ...more
Jeffrey Bostick
Definitely worth slogging through for an insider's view of the mechanics and the politics of international oil business. Trouble is that the take is almost a little too insidery. Long stretches of the book read like personal magazine profiles of this or that CEO which would be okay if these details were more relevant. But mainly it reads almost like entertainment gossip.
David James
There's a lot of information in this one, but it's poorly arranged. What could have been an excellent examination of the people involved at the top of the oil world and the way they have impacted recent history (Bower is focused on roughly 1980 onward), is bogged down by constantly shifting timelines and narratives that leave the book difficult to follow.

It's a shame, because the stories he tells are quite dramatic and offer an illuminating look at the impact oil and those who produce it have o
Fredrick Danysh
This is an analysis of the role of the oil industry over the first part of the 21st century and the big oil companies. OPEC's role is also considered. Here, the politics and economics of big oil are discussed as they affect the world. The personalities of the major players, heads of the companies, are looked at. I thought that it was an interesting read that gave insight into why the price of oil quadrupled since the embargo of the 1970s.
Tony Limjuco
Illuminating non-fictional account so far of how the modern oil industry came about, most notably of BP's troubled rise to prominence, and just how those Russian oligarchs got quite so rich. Quite relevant reading today in light of the now capped Macondo well. I'll see how the rest unfolds.
Hans de Zwart
Describes the history of the oil industry from the late 80s till about two years ago. All the big events pass by (Exxon Valdez, Brent Spar, the Russian Oligarchs, Shell's reserve crisis). I can't say it was well written, but it did give me a lot of extra insight into the industry.
Paul Cheney
Bower gets under the skin of the oil magnates, and shows their true colours. The people that run this industry are ruthless, manipulative, complicit in manipulating the market and greedy beyond belief.
A long slow read focused on the personalities behind large western oil companies. I was definitely hoping for more of a look at the role of China in today's oil industry, and as such was disappointed.
The book was very interesting. It gave a lot of insight into an industry whose necessity is so woven into the fabric of our daily lives. I look forward to the day when we can rely on clean energy.
Observing modern oil industry and how no single government, corporation, or OPEC can control oil markets.
Chapter 10 was great, really insightful on the rise of BP
A series of vignettes with no overarching theme.
Ahmed Uzair
Topical and well written. Recommended.
a great read so far!
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Tom Bower (born 28 September 1946) is a British writer, noted for his investigative journalism and for his unauthorized biographies.
A former Panorama reporter, his books include unauthorised biographies of Tiny Rowland, Robert Maxwell, Mohamed Al-Fayed, Geoffrey Robinson, Gordon Brown and Richard Branson.
He won the 2003 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award for Broken Dreams, an investigatio
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