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The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man [Paperback]

David Strahan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 5 April 2007 --  

Book Description

5 April 2007
This may be the most important book you or anyone else will read in the next fifty years. Assuming humanity survives that long. Draining the lifeblood of industrial civilization, the terminal decline of oil and gas production will spark a crisis far more dangerous than international terrorism, and more urgent than climate change. World leaders know it, so why aren't they telling?

The last oil shock is the secret behind the crises in Iraq and Iran, the reason your gas bill is going through the roof, the basis of a secret deal cooked up in Texas between George Bush and Tony Blair, the cause of an imminent and unprecedented economic collapse, and the reason you may soon be kissing your car keys and boarding pass goodbye. David Strahan explains how we reached this critical state, how the silence of governments, oil companies and environmentalists conspires to keep the public in the dark, what it means for energy policy, and what you can do to protect yourself and your family from the ravages of the last oil shock.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719564239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719564239
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 15.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 802,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Strahan's an excellent guide, providing readable, well-explained arguments for putting this subject atop the agenda'


(Sue Baker, Publishing News)

'People need to get hold of this, read it, pass it on and then do something positive with the valuable knowledge they have gained'


'This is a well researched and documented book and David Strahan pulls no punches in his analysis of the world's impending energy problems. Not everyone will agree with every word but I commend it as a really good and informative read on a topic that affects us all'

(Lord Oxburgh, former Chairman of Shell)

'This book can be considered a primer for people who are new to peak oil, but also old hands will find it worth reading for its useful insights'

(Ugo Bardi, Energy Bulletin)

'An excellent book ... Strahan is first of all a superb journalist'


Book Description

More serious than global terrorism. More urgent than global warming - the world is running out of oil --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first class book on Peak Oil 28 Mar 2007
David Strahan's book `The Last Oil Shock' smartly covers the subject of Peak Oil in a way that makes it very educational to newcomers but at the same time sounding fresh and interesting to those well-read on this topic.

Strahan is an award-winning investigative journalist. This is visible throughout with his countless interviews with key insiders in energy, politics and economics, used to highlight and reinforce the arguments laid out. His knowledge and understanding of all aspects of Peak Oil has been fermenting for almost a decade and it is clearly distilled in this book for the reader.

The story is a familiar one. World oil production is expected to peak soon, no alternative forms of energy can replace it sufficiently, we're not preparing for it let alone admitting it, and many of our systems will struggle to cope with the decline of oil, especially our financial, trade and agricultural practices. Spiking oil prices, recessions, depressions, and worldwide struggle follow. But Strahan takes the reader through this with expertise, revealing something new to even old eyes (and I should know, I've read all the books on this!). The words jump into the reader's head; it is a page turner, written often with wit, flourish, insight and sometimes contempt. It is a timely book too, contextualising the story of oil around the current tensions in the Middle-East. I dare say it portrays the real `Real Story' for the invasion of Iraq and the threats now directed towards Iran from an oil hungry USA.

There is plenty to praise about `The Last Oil Shock'. It is not a technical book, but where necessary the data is presented in a comprehendible manner that will not deter the average reader. He masterfully builds the case for concern.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book rich in insights 18 April 2007
The Last Oil Shock - book review

by Ugo Bardi

After years of work on peak oil, it is rare for me to find a book written for the general public that can teach me something I didn't know before. But with David Strahan's book, "The Last Oil Shock," it was a different matter. While I often just thumb through this kind of books, this one was worth reading carefully, line by line.

Books on peak oil, so far, have been written mostly by geologists, and in general by scientists. Their approach is normally rather impersonal and is based on the analysis of literature data. Strahan's approach, instead, is that of the investigative journalist and it is based on interviews. The result is lively and rich in insights. For instance, Strahan manages to make a convincing case that the people in power know much more about peak oil than they care to tell to us, the poor petroleum peasants. Maybe you suspected that already, but Strahan will give you much food for thought on the matter.

When discussing the theory behind peak oil, Strahan tells us the human side of Hubbert's story, his struggle against the USGS, and the psychological profile of his enemies, prophet of abundance of their times, who were proved famously wrong by history. It is a story that cannot be found anywhere else (as far as I know) and that would be impossible to put together from the dry text of the scientific papers of the time. Also, the story of how the oil wells of Iraq were badly damaged, perhaps permanently, by the embargo of the 1990s is something which would be impossible to piece together from the media and very difficult to understand from the scientific literature.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough going journalism 25 July 2007
Many of the reviews here have eloquently explained the substance of this book, however I thought I would add that I was impressed by the sheer leg work this journalist must have done over a period of years,in order to have produced the material for this book.It constatly bounces back between America and the UK tracing the developments in this story from many interviews. The book is written from a British perspective.

Looking to the future I found the most chilling piece of news the author brings us is that a map maker (he interviewed) used by the Americans to plot all the oil bearing structures in Iraq (coincidentally just before the Iraq invasion)has recently been commissioned to produce maps of a similar nature of Iran.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
As of this writing, this stands as the best general peak oil book for the masses in the market. It covers some history, geopolitics, economics, infrastructure issues, geology and the ramifications of oil depletion.

At points it is spread fairly thin, but succeeds in sticking to the essentials. It would have been worth six stars had it included discussion on such issues as net energy, energy quality, conversion losses and other peak fuel ramifications.

However, perhaps partly due to omitting more technical details it remains highly readable and illuminates the current situation in very understandable manner.

For the rest of the stuff (depletion models, forecasts, net energy principles) one can always surf the internet (theoildrum,, encyclopedia of earth, etc).

I agree with C. Bolam that the sub-title of the book is not very accurate. This is not a survival guide, but that hardly detracts from the contents of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Excellent read. Very interesting analysis of the geological economic and political conditions surrounding peak oil. Word limits on reviews are silly.
Published 16 months ago by Chris Kellard
5.0 out of 5 stars Worrying But Compelling Read
Everyone should read this book. Interesting although sometimes a little too statistical, this book explains why the coming oil shock will be so dramatic. Read more
Published on 10 May 2011 by SouthernDave
2.0 out of 5 stars Over earnest
A detailed if rather dull analysis of the impending oil decline concentrating on why the various methodologies used to analyse decline are flawed. Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2010 by Apocolypse Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Oil Shock
Easy to read and understand. Essential reading for everyone. Oil production is falling off a cliff and now has reached 5% per annum.
Published on 1 Aug 2010 by Bermuda
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling, yet essential reading
This is the first book I have read on 'peak oil', and I chose it because unlike many of the others written on the subject, it has a UK rather than US bias. Read more
Published on 23 April 2010 by Dead Celeb
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read - Although not a survival guide
There are some excellent books out there on this subject now and this is one of them. The author has shared very interesting research and insights from industry insiders which... Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2009 by Darren L. Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of Peak Oil from the UK perspective
One of the best summaries of the peak oil situation which I have read, and easily the best with a United Kingdom slant on things. Read more
Published on 28 July 2008 by Jack Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars To see the world through the eyes of 'Peak Oil' is life changing
A thoroughly researched book whose author has revealed the story behind our use of energy and the possible consequences of living beyond our means. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2008 by James Crawford
2.0 out of 5 stars Pompous
A friend recommended this book, saying she had found it interesting, but difficult to read.
I found it pompous and self-congratulatory, with lots of author asides that added... Read more
Published on 29 Feb 2008 by Sam Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Wrong Title
The book deals at great length with the international situation, the politics , the deception and gives the reader a scarey view that peak oil is only a few years away. Read more
Published on 15 Jan 2008 by John S. Grist
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