Sunday, August 22, 2010

Five best books about the oil industry

Peter Maass is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and has reported from the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa. He has written as well for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post and Slate. Maass is the author of Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War, which chronicled the Bosnian war and won prizes from the Overseas Press Club and the Los Angeles Times.

His latest book is Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books on the oil industry. One title on the list:
A Month and a Day
by Ken Saro-Wiwa

The spill in the Gulf of Mexico has brought to American shores the sort of environmental disaster that many Nigerians have been living with for nearly a half-century. Their oil region, the Niger Delta, has endured years of leaks as well as warfare pitting local tribes against a corrupt government allied with multinational oil companies. The Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa famously led an environmental-justice movement in the 1990s, and his account of his imprisonment, "A Month and a Day," presents a searing portrait of the ecological and political travesties that led him to put his life on the line (and he would lose it—the government executed him in 1995). Saro-Wiwa describes his Ogoni homeland as "a blighted countryside . . . full of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons; a land in which wildlife is unknown; a land of polluted streams and creeks, of rivers without fish." After reading this book, you will find it hard to buy a gallon of gas without thinking of the misery at the other end of the pipeline.
Read about another book on the list.

Learn more about Crude World and its author at Peter Maass' website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Crude World.

--Marshal Zeringue