Magazine August 30, 2010, Issue

Petronoia

Support vessels sit at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster off the Louisiana coast, July 23, 2010. (Lee Celano/Reuters)
Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century, by Tom Bower (Grand Central, 512 pp., $26.99)

Tom Bower is a British investigative journalist who made his name writing hard-hitting exposés of the activities of such major British business figures as Robert Maxwell, Mohamed Al-Fayed, and Richard Branson. He has now turned his attention to an entire industry, and he chose to start at the top. Oil is a 20-year history of the oil industry, taking up around 1990, where Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning The Prize (1991) left off. Those used to Bower’s exposés of corruption will not be disappointed, for there is plenty of underhanded dirty dealing to be documented. Yet the real villains of Bower’s

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