Though lending itself to debate, this book is of considerable interest to students of energy economics, geopolitics, and...




Thoroughgoing, politically charged study of the role of fossil fuels in world history.

As French journalist Auzanneau writes, “at the heart of the political and geopolitical strategies” of the major Western powers in the postwar era was a calculus “overlooked by classic economic science”—namely, that the expansion of their economies was contingent upon the expansion of available supplies of oil and gas. Underlying the postwar boom, then, was a boom in energy sources, as the U.S. consolidated its hold on the Middle East while enjoying record production at home. The more-or-less stagnant economies since then correspond to a decline in energy availability, with jolts provided by the advent of sources like shale oil in the U.S. in the last decade. That production of what the author calls “conventional oil” is declining leads him to suppose that the much-feared “peak oil” period is finally upon us, an eventuality that will lead to severe economic dislocation as the world scrambles to retool. The problem, of course, is that the future is a moving target, and peak oil has been a thing since the days of the first oil embargo, even as the fossil-fuel economy keeps chugging on. Still, looking at economies addicted to cheap oil, it’s hard to disagree with Auzanneau that “any reasonable person can see that it’s time to detoxify.” As alarmist as Daniel Yergin’s The Prize was triumphalist, Auzanneau’s book might not persuade fossil-fuel investors to divest, but it makes a strong case for putting eggs in more than one basket, to say nothing about the thought that much political unrest can be traced to the endless jockeying for power among the major players—Russia, the U.S., Britain, China, and so on. Some fascinating asides include the author’s behind-the-curtains look at organizations such as Aramco, OPEC, and the Safari Club, “a secret group of intelligence services united to fight communism in Africa.”

Though lending itself to debate, this book is of considerable interest to students of energy economics, geopolitics, and modern history.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60358-743-3

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Chelsea Green

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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