Orld War One the British navy scrapped many coal burning warships and began building modern boats that ran on oil This gave them a big advantage over the German navy The era of industrial warfare had arrived Nations with tanks trucks and planes could easily smash horse powered enemiesAmerica oined the war in 1917 and brought lots of oil German ports were blockaded their war machine ran out of fuel and they were defeated In this new era for the first time oil became essential for military success Young Hitler grasped this and so did the British A primary objective of the Brits was to seize control of Middle Eastern oil a yet to be developed treasure that made greedy gits giddy They succeeded invented new nations and found obedient puppets to rule them and loot themOf course wealth and power freuently turns decent people into obnoxious monsters Troublesome puppets were replaced with new ones Britain got very rich and the Arabs and Persians developed an intense hatred of Brits In World War Two Hitler launched his oil powered blitzkrieg made a beeline for oily Baku and planned to grab the Persian Gulf In this war American oil once again came to the rescueGermany and Japan learned the hard way that running out of oil is for losers Everyone knows this today US presidents have poured trillions of dollars into maintaining control of oil whilst abbering about freedom democracy and weapons of mass destruction For some mysterious reason millions of Middle Eastern folks now loath and detest the USIn Saudi Arabia the Wahhabis are a sect that perceives most of modernity as pure evil They don t look fondly on the lavish lifestyles of the ruling Saud family Marrin asserts that the government agreed to subsidize the spread of Wahhabi schools into other regions In exchange for this funding the Wahhabis agreed not to make trouble in Arabia but trouble anywhere else was OK In short Saudi oil profits fueled terrorism Russia now controls much of the natural gas that powers Europe and Western powers are eager for an alternative a pipeline from the Middle East that bypasses Russian control It would be reasonable to conclude that the coming decades are not going to be a sweet celebration of love peace and happiness Expect big drama as the age of hydrocarbons swirls the drain climate change pounds the luckless and Big Mama Nature hurls overshoot overboardThe rear end of Marrin s book was annoying The book is intended for use in schools He recommends that the US should become energy independent as soon as possible The best solution he says is a combination of fossil fuels and alternative energy solar wind biomass hydro geothermal nuclear no mention of sharply reducing consumption The assumption is that independence is possible and that the consumer way of life will be free to continue down the path of mindless self destructionTeachers librarians and parents should have an above average understanding of energy issues before selecting books on the subject These issues are going to have a staggering impact on the lives of the target audience young readers It s long past time to sit down with youngsters and have a highly embarrassing birds and bees discussion about the fact that the abundant energy bubble is going to turn into a pumpkin during the lifetimes Preserving their ignorance seems cruelIn the book readers learn that nuclear reactors can generate lots of electricity but they occasionally barf large amounts of radiation all over the place Therefore it s very important to properly dispose of spent fuel because it s extremely toxic Great idea How William and Rosemary Alley discussed this issue in Too Hot to Touch They note that today there are some 440 nuclear power plants in 31 countries More are on the way Yet no country on Earth has an operating high level waste disposal facility Obama cancelled plans for the Yucca Mountain site which was as close to perfect as is possible after 25 years of research at a cost of 10 billion Because it was cancelled spent fuel rods continue building up many of them temporarily stored in cooling ponds If the circulating pumps for the cooling ponds stop the water boils the pool evaporates and the rods are exposed to air melt and release radioactive gasses The meltdowns at Three Mile Island Chernobyl and Fukushima were triggered by overheated fuel rodsReaders also learn that the US has huge coal reserves enough for 250 years at the current rate of consumption To understand why this is a meaningless statement watch one of the many versions of Albert Bartlett s famous lecture Arithmetic Population and Energy on YouTube Every student and teacher should watch itRead Jeff Rubin s book The Big Flatline You ll learn that the production of top uality anthracite coal peaked in 1950 and grade B bituminous coal peaked in 1990 There is abundant grade C coal lignite which is especially filthy to burn Since lignite is so low in energy it cannot be shipped long distances profitably It is absurd to use 100 calories of diesel to haul 100 calories of low uality coalThis is an extremely important issue energy returned on energy invested EROEI The book doesn t mention this EROEI is also highly relevant to oil Rubin and others note that in the good old days of high profit gushers it was common to invest one calorie of energy to produce 100 calories of oil 1001 By 2010 typical EROEI was about 171 and some are predicting 51 by 2020Rising prices enable the extraction of difficult and expensive non conventional oil and gas At some point declining EROEI makes extraction pointless regardless of market prices Conseuently most of the oil in Canadian tar sands will be left where it is The EROEI of tar sands now in production is about 31 and 51 for shale depositsReaders learn about renewable energy like wind solar and hydro See Ted Trainer s book Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain a Consumer Society Learn about the significant shortcomings of the various types of alternative energy Discover why no combination of them will ever come anywhere close to replacing the energy now provided by fossil fuel Discover why we will not enjoy a smooth and painless transition to a sustainable renewable energy futureThe education system from grade schools to universities seems to be largely committed to a don t scare the children strategy We don t want to fill kids with despair about their grisly inheritance Also publishers want to avoid discussions that piss off poorly informed parents or the politically powerful titans of industry The publisher did allow Marrin to drop hints that there might be some trouble in the future It s a touchy game Sales can be harmed by too little reality or too much The book s takeaway message is that we have the solutions for our energy challenges but we don t have a lot of time to fool around Things will be OK probably maybe Is that likel. Indeed oil influences every aspect of modern life It helps shape the history society politics and economy of every nation on earthThis riveting new book explores what oil is and the role this precious resource has played in America and the worl.
As we all know oil has been a benefit to this world while at the same time being the cause of some of the worst nightmares wars and agony that we ve ever seen In many ways most people on this planet wish that oil had never been found if so perhaps we would not be in the situation economically or socially that we are in right nowIn this new work of nonfiction the author has provided everything from the very beginnings of oil to how this substance has saved lives taken lives and how the future looks for the next generation as Albert Marrin s timely book starts out explaining what oil is and where is comes from then moves into its impact on the world particularly how it relates to warfare both in the sense that oil reserves make for a better army and in the sense that countries are willing to go to war to get The book also discusses the problems with oil such as natural disasters and the dwindling supply and concludes by discussing some possible alternatives to relying on oil and the pros and cons of eachThe book starts out slowly the explanation of how we get oil is a little dry but then it picks up considerably Readers who push through will be rewarded with an enlightening look at how oil impacts us and will likely be worried that the dwindling oil supply will run out any minute Despite striking fear into the heart of the reader or maybe because of it this is the type of book that really makes readers think about the world we live in Another excellent piece of nonfiction from Marrin Richie s Picks BLACK GOLD THE STORY OF OIL IN OUR LIVES by Albert Marrin Knopf January 2012 192p ISBN 978 0 375 86673 9And with the radio blastingGoes cruising ust as fast as she can nowAnd she ll have fun fun fun Till her daddy takes the T Bird away Brian Wilson Mike Love Fun Fun FunAsphalt also helped the dead live forever Ancient Egyptians believed in life after death But to gain eternal life a corpse had to be mummified that is embalmed and dried to prevent decay Asphalt was a key ingredient in turning a corpse into a mummy the word comes from mumiyyah Arabic for asphalt Since Egypt had little asphalt merchants traveled to the Dead Sea in what is today Israel to trade with the local Arabs for it The king of Syria hoping to profit from the trade sent an army to occupy the area Furious that a foreign thief should control the fate of their dead the Egyptians sent an army in 312 BC thus winning history s first war for oilAs we learn from BLACK GOLD there are over a uarter billion registered motor vehicles in America today one for every 11 people No matter what belated efforts we as a society might someday finally undertake to both radically increase fuel efficiency and develop convenient mass transit systems systems that will really take significant numbers of cars off the road those of us alive today will undoubtedly spend the rest of our days having our daily lives inexorably intertwined with fossil fuels And it sure as heck doesn t feel like we ve seen the last of wars for oil So how did we get here Beginning with a geologic and chemical related exploration of how over millions of years coal oil and natural gas has come to be Albert Marrin provides a mind blowing scientific economic sociological environmental and geopolitical history of the petroleum based energy resources that are the core of our modern civilization and the core of our civilization s most intractable problems and conflictsThe town buzzed with excitement and smelled to high heaven thanks to all that oil The whole place a visitor said smelled like a corps of soldiers when they have diarrhea This book is a gasWe learn that it was because of the eighteenth century need for bright and safe lighting fuel and because of the rapidly depleting supply of whales for whale oil and because it was discovered that kerosene could be extracted from petroleum that smart and ambitious Colonel Edwin L Drake was hired by a business group to drill for oil on Oil Creek in Titusville Pennsylvania a stream known for its oil seepsAfter a few failed attempts at developing a technology for oil drillingWhat Drake did next would make him famous as the father of the petroleum industry His solution became the model for all future oil well drilling It popped into his mind suddenly as if by magic Drake bought sections of iron pipe he called them drive pipe because he would drive them into the ground with a battering ram made of an oak log As the lower sections went deeper he would attach a new section at the top and then run the drill string through the pipe This way the pipe kept the water out while the drill attacked the rock belowOn August 28 1859 the drill broke into reservoir rock near the surface at a depth of sixty nine feet Oil bubbled up flowing at a rate of twenty five gallons a day At first Drake stored it in wooden washtubs bought from farmers wives When these ran out he bought up all the used whiskey barrels he could find each holding forty two gallons That set the standard A barrel of oil always has the same amount as an old time whiskey barrel19 old gas station price sign I remember seeing back in the late sixties for gas at 19 cents per gallon After taking us back through earlier days covering topics like trust busting and discovering Texas s black gold author Albert Marrin guides us through an outstanding examination of WWII from the perspective of petroleum Then he tops that by unraveling a century of Middle Eastern oil and geopolitics And then he dives into the environmental effects of our search for and use of petroleum I cannot believe that the author fits everything I Alien Disclosure at Area 51 just learned about arguably the most important issues in our world today in a mere 152 pages plus backmatterDamn this trafficamHow I hate to be lateIt hurts my motor to go so slowDamn this traffic Singing the Law jamTime I get home my supper ll be coldDamn this trafficam James TaylorThe United States has an energy intensive economy and society The numbers speak for themselvesOur country has 5 percent of the world s population but uses 26 percent of its energy As of 2008 Americans used seventeen million barrels of oil each day It takes seven gallons of gasoline per person man woman and child to run the country each day We burn one out of every seven barrels of oil produced in the world on our highways Drivers waste twelve million barrels of oil each year stalled in traffic Alchemic jamsMiddle Eastern oil producing countries disliking us Escalating fuel costs and steadily decreasing supplies Global warming and massive pollution Are we all doomed or whatAs Marrin points out no solution will come easily or cheaply He concludes the story of oil in our lives with a look at some of the optionsand tough choiceswe haveBLACK GOLD is a truly significant work of youth literature Richie Partington MLISRichie s Picks Loved this book The title and picture Oil is not pretty but it is a resource that drives the modern world It has made fortunes for the lucky few and providedobs for millions of ordinary folksThick and slippery crude oil has an evil smell Yet without it life as we live it today
N the cover really grabbed my attention from the very beginning Black Gold The Story of Oil in Our Lives Everything absolutely everything we do in this life is affected by energy and everyone could benefit from reading this bookThe author Albert Marin first started describing how oil is made He titles chapter one as a freak of geology from there he describes how drilling begin and how people such as John D Rockefeller became wealthy from oil My favorite part of the book was the history of nations and wars overwithbecause of oil As a young child I remember the oil cruch in 1973 and in hearing about the Iran controversery with Ayatollah Khomeini coming into power then the American hostages held for 444 days their release shortly after Ronald Regean became president and the IranIra War At the time I was too young to understand much but this book put it all into perspective I understand of the role of OPEC and Saudia Arabia and what we as citizens of this world need to do to find new energy sources Fasinating information I would really like to read other books written by Albert Marrin Much of the science was incorrect I m sure if it was because the author didn t understand the subject tried and failed to simplify concepts or intentionally misconstrued the facts to make a point The book left out important information when it didn t suit the conclusions although this may be from a lack of understandingresearch rather than deliberate deceit While some of the history was interesting I was disappointed by most of the book The facts didn t support the conclusions even when they were correct Black Gold The Story of Oil in Our Lives is a welcome addition to the middle or high school library The book provides a concise yet thorough summary of both the scientific and political aspects of humans relationship with oil While focused on the US the book describes the development of oil dependence throughout the world over time and highlights the contributions of key individuals in the process Some chapters are scientific in nature describing the process of oil creation and refinement or outlining alternative energy technologies Other chapters focus on the politics and economics of oil including entire chapters devoted to certain dictators obsessions with oil and the power it could bring and how this uest for power helped shape wars and conflicts worldwide throughout historyThis book includes an index glossary bibliographical notes and many black and white illustrations with captions and citations Also embedded within the text are charts and diagrams to explain scientific and economic concepts where neededComments on how to use in a school settingThis book has Common Core written all over it The narrative is accessible and would work well as a Common Core informational text for economics earth science or even historyglobal studies classes researching the relationship between humans and oil I m always looking for nonfiction titles that read like stories in the hopes that students might ust pick them up for independent reading I could see that happening with this title The book is fairly short with a good glossary appropriate for most middle school and high school studentsThis book is essentially a cautionary tale about the history and the dangers of dependence on oil as an energy source and economic engine It is clearly aimed at young adult readers with chapter titles such as A Freak of Geology and thorough explanations of concepts and kingpin individuals More mature readers might find this title a bit too basic although entertaining The subject is petroleum from history to the search for alternative energy sources Many little known facts are included For example during WWII only the US had developed 100 octane fuel which gave a decisive advantage to Allied fighter planesThe book s errors in science create confusion and misconceptions that students may carry into report writing Citing no reference page 131 claims that dispersants used on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are 10000 times deadlier to sea life than crude oil itself EPA tests demonstrated dispersants are no toxic than oil Page135 credits global warming for shrinking glaciers a process going on since the Little Ice Age ended around 1850 AND for possible cooling harsher winters and the advance of glaciers in some areas Page 136 calls carbon dioxide the chief greenhouse gas but water vapor accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect Pages 136 and 137 discuss acid rain from burning coal but omit how this has been drastically reduced by flue gas desulfurization systems Page 145 states Motor vehicles can burn pure ethanol instead of gasoline Yet tests show that even 15% of ethanol in gasoline can damage car and truck engines Worldwide geothermal electrical power plants are working without extracting underground water yet page 153 states steam from underground water may contain harsh chemicals that ruin turbines and if released into the air spread pollution The reliability of other parts of the book should be uestioned I don t even know where to begin with this Maybe I should start with the fact that I wouldn t have read this had it not been a Battle of the Books book and even then it was one I was forced to read because no one else wanted to I really wish that I could have turned around and said that this book wasn t as bad as every thought but sadly that is not the case Black G Black Gold explores the significance of oil in the lives of humans The author begins by explaining how fossil fuels were formed He then traces the use of fossil fuels from antiuity to the present showing how humans have become increasingly dependent upon them over time Marrin places special emphasis on the ways in which oil has played a role in political conflicts and wars throughout history He goes on to describe the environmental conseuences of fossil fuels as well as their increasing scarcity The book concludes with a chapter describing the pros and cons of various alternative sources of energyBlack Gold is a clearly written up to date resource that will be useful for students who are researching the topic of fossil fuels It will be especially useful for those who want to understand the social political and historical context of oil There are black and white photos and diagrams throughout the book but most don t add much to the text This will be a useful resource for student reports but probably won t have much of an audience for pleasure reading Includes bibliographical references a short glossary and an index Recommended Albert Marrin is a history professor who has written dozens books for young readers In Black Gold he discussed the geology of fossil energy emergence of the oil industry geopolitics oil wars environmental impacts and future challenges I was intrigued by his perspective on geopoliticsBefore Ould be impossible Oil fuels our engines heats our homes and powers the machines that make the everyday things we take for granted from shopping bags to computers to medical euipment Nations throughout the last century have gone to war over it .
Albert Marrin is a historian and the author of than twenty nonfiction books for young people He has won various awards for his writing including the 2005 James Madison Book Award and the 2008 National Endowment for Humanities Medal In 2011 his book Flesh and Blood So Cheap was a National Book Award Finalist Marrin is the Chairman of the History Department at New York's Yeshiva University