Oil By Tom Bower Book Review

There’s no getting away from oil and with the spill in the Gulf of Mexico still fresh in our minds, we received a book all about the black gold.

Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century by Tom Bower was written before the latest disaster but nonetheless aims to tell the story of oil over the last 20 years. Oil follows the stories of BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, the traders, Russian oligarchs and environmentalists.

When I picked up the book I was a little apprehensive, thinking it would be a serious tome, but Bower is an old hand and has written it in an easy-going style that makes it a compelling read.

Oil by Tom Bower

Saying that, it’s a hugely complex issue with many different players across businesses and countries, so it takes a certain concentration to read. Again, Bower has helped by giving these people personalities from his extensive interviews (more than 250 people) and research. You start to think you know the head of BP or Shell as you go through your book.

It’s a fascinating read, and the amounts of money involved, shady deals and disasters all make an intriguing book. I found myself compelled to read more and learn about the world of oil and while Bower tends to shy away from making judgments, he does offer facts that lead you to certain conclusions. Especially on the environment issue, calling BP’s rebranding greenwash and showing how reality and perception aren’t the same thing.

Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century by Tom Bower is available from bookshops and online at the Hachette Book Group priced $26.99.


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