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The Oil Book Economy

The petro-lit genre is publishing's latest gusher. Here are some of the most notable tomes, as arranged by subgenre

Insider Rant

Why We Hate the Oil Companies, by John Hofmeister

The author, a former president of Shell who now runs the nonprofit Citizens for Affordable Energy, explains why everyone—from politicians to environmentalists—is wrong about oil. And how they use the topic to advance their agendas.

The Mogul Tell-All

The King of Oil, by Daniel Ammann

Marc Rich, the tight-lipped billionaire oil trader, who infamously received a pardon from Bill Clinton, provided Swiss journalist Ammann with 30-plus hours of personal interviews and privileged access to associates.

Peak Production Primers

When Oil Peaked, by Kenneth Deffeyes

Written by a Princeton geoscience professor and former Shell geologist, this book updates the peak oil debate. Deffeyes draws from historical data and research to make the argument that oil production peaked for the final time in 2005.

BP Takedowns

Drowning in Oil, by Loren C. Steffy

The Houston Chronicle columnist's book—one of the first reprisals of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe—shows how a corporate culture of cost-cutting led to the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Petro State Tomes

Oil, by Tom Bower

A global exploration of the modern petroleum industry, Bower's book is the magnum opus of contemporary oil lit. It follows the race for reserves in the depths of the sea—and in the backyards of the world's most mercurial leaders, such as Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chávez.

Blame Canada!

Tar Sands, by Andrew Nikiforuk

Taking a critical look at the tar sands of Canada—the No. 1 supplier of oil to the U.S.—Nikiforuk's book investigates how oil companies have poured roughly $200 billion into the region despite giving little forethought to economic, social, and environmental implications.

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