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

OIL, POWER, AND WAR

A DARK HISTORY

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

NIGHT

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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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