A Concise Guide to the Most Important Product on Earth

“[A] well-researched, informative book, one of the best on the subject.” —The Washington Post

Matthew Yeomans begins his investigation into the role of oil in America by trying to spend a day without oil—only to stumble before exiting the bathroom (petroleum products play a role in shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant, and contact lenses). When Oil was published in cloth last year, it was quickly recognized as the wittiest and most accessible guide to the product that drives the U.S. economy and undergirds global conflict. The book sparked reviews and editorials across the country from the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Nation to Newsday , the San Francisco Chronicle, Wired and others. Author Michael Klare (Blood and Oil) called it “a clear, comprehensive overview of the U.S. oil industry . . . in one compact and highly readable volume,” and Boldtype praised Yeomans’s “crisp journalistic voice. . . . Understanding the business of oil is essential in any modern dialog of power, politics, or the almighty buck, and Yeomans delivers a well-researched and gripping read.”

Illustrated with maps and graphics—and now with an all-new afterword—Oil contains a brief history of gasoline, an analysis of the American consumer’s love affair with the automobile, and a political anatomy of the global oil industry, including its troubled relationship with oil-rich but democracy-poor countries.


“Yeomans does a fine job integrating a wide array of information, from the mechanics of oil production to how the politics of oil helped shape the modern Middle East. . . . Surprisingly nuanced.”
“A wake-up call. Highly recommended.”
The Washington Post
“A volatile mix of history, politics, economics, science, and foreign and military policy.”
In These Times
“An informed primer that weaves together commentary, anecdote, and fact.”
“Compelling and provocative. . . . Should be required reading for all who care about the future of this country and the planet as a whole.”
The Nation

Goodreads Reviews