A forceful argument that we must wean ourselves off of oil and thereby save the environment and myriads of lives and deprive terrorist organizations of their greatest source of income.
Ballard, a former lieutenant colonel in the Marines and mayor of Indianapolis from 2008 to 2016, participated in the first Gulf War and saw firsthand the consequences of our deadly reliance on Middle Eastern oil. As he writes, we are spending billions of dollars annually to protect the oil infrastructure and flow—not counting the war expenses—and a large portion of the money goes to fund organizations and governments that wish us ill. The author devotes much of this brief volume to background information about how and why we have arrived at this state, and numerous pages of appendices add further information. He summarizes, for example, some critical events involving the Middle East, from the 1979 Iran hostage crisis to recent terrorist attacks in Western Europe. He briefly rehearses the history of the Middle East, from World War I to the present, and the geological and economic history of oil and its production, and he surveys the automotive alternatives to internal combustion engines. Regarding the latter, Ballard offers high praise for Elon Musk and his Tesla development. (He does not mention recent odd Musk-ian events.) The author then proposes ideas to accelerate our movement away from the internal combustion engine—e.g., more charging stations for electric cars. One mild oversight is that Ballard does not devote quite enough attention to the source of all the electricity required to realize his dream. Much more about this issue is needed to make his thesis more palatable to drivers of both massive SUVs and Teslas. The author supplements his sometimes-dense text with numerous photographs, graphs, and charts.
An important, admonitory argument and appeal that will reward determined readers with open minds.