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Oil: A Beginner's Guide

Packed with fascinating facts and insight, Oil will fuel dinner party debate, and provide readers with the science and politics behind the world’s most controversial resource. Without oil, there would be no globalization, no plastic, little transport, and a global political landscape that few would recognize. It is the lifeblood of the modern world, and humanity’s dependence upon it looks set to continue for decades to come. This captivating book explains all matters related to the ‘black stuff’, from its discovery in the earth, right through to the political maelstrom that surrounds it today.

"At last, an accurate and readable book which effectively presents the whole range of issues which are required for an understanding of the complex global oil system."

— Peter Odell, Professor Emeritus of International Energy Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and recipient of the 2006 OPEC Award

"Smil's knowledge is famously and fabulously encyclopedic."

— Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University and author of The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

"Terrific. Smil has done it again, producing a book from which we can all create new insights, this time explaining oil production, consumption and the broader impacts it has upon society."

— Chris Mottershead, Distinguished Advisor Energy and the Environment, BP plc, and Director of the Carbon Trust in London

"In a fluent, easy style [Smil] delves into the world of oil from its discovery on the ground through to its effect on prices at the petrol pumps, and to its impact on future generations."

— The Good Book Guide, May 2008