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The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--and What We Must Do to Stop It [Hardcover]

Antonia Juhasz
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2008

“Juhasz bravely and expertly exposes the inner workings of an industry and a government riddled with secrets, lies, and deception.”
—Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

 

In the tradition of the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Antonia Juhasz’s The Tyranny of Oil offers a chilling exposé of the modern American oil industry and its dire abuse of power. A leading international trade and finance policy expert and the author of The Bush Agenda, Juhasz presents eye-opening truths about a potentially catastrophic global energy crisis that only promises to get much worse in the coming years—and provides possible solutions for meaningful change. Terry Tamminen, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, calls The Tyranny of Oil a bold blueprint for ending the madness,” and the Christian Science Monitor tells us, “a good first step toward true energy independence is to read this insightful book.”

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition First Printing edition (15 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061434507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061434501
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.9 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,095,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“A brave, groundbreaking case study.…A good first step toward true energy independence is to read this insightful book.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“[Juhasz] reminds us that those who don’t learn the lessons of history are fated to repeat its mistakes.” (USA Today)

“Well-written.…presciently criticizes the weak oversight of the oil futures market.” (Washington Post)

“[A] timely, blistering critique…this white-hot polemic explores many of the industry’s complex and secret practices.…Explosive fuel for the raging debate on oil prices.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Part homage to 150 years of anti-monopoly muckraking and trust-busting and part signpost to where the leading edge of the environmental and social activist movements are headed.” (Toronto Star)

“[A] thorough, readable takedown of Big Oil.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A worthy successor to The Prize... A riveting read with a bold blueprint for ending the madness.” (Terry Tamminen, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.)

“A no-holds-barred book that traces the story of Big Oil from the rise of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company to the scandals and obscene profits of today.” (Michael T. Klare, author of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy.)

“Juhasz identifies and articulates an extraordinary problem, provides the critical details, offers real solutions, and gives concrete steps to achieve them. In a world that glorifies war and violence, Juhasz offers thoughtfulness and activism.” (Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, International Campaign to Ban Landmines.Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, International Campaign to Ban Landmines.Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, International Campaign to B)

“In a time of crisis, Juhasz bravely and expertly exposes the inner workings of an industry and a government riddled with secrets, lies, and deception. She offers the crucial hard evidence—without which public awareness and reform are impossible. Read this book and refuse to be tyranny’s accomplice.” (Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers)

“If our military troops, and the American public, want to know why the US invaded and occupied Iraq, here is the answer. Get your notebooks ready for the facts about oil and the people and companies that are the richest in the world.” (Colonel Ann Wright, Retired, U.S. Army Reserves)

“Juhasz lifts the veil covering Big Oil to uncover an orgy of speculation, mergers, collusion, deregulation, tax evasion, and unprecedented profits.…[she] points the way out and inspires us to free ourselves from Big Oil’s grip to build a more secure, sustainable and peaceful future. Read it and act!” (Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace and Global Exchange) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Who's really driving oil and gas prices? How much oil is left? How far will Big Oil go to get it, and at what cost to the environment, human rights, the economy, worker safety, public health, and democracy?

Here, at last, are the answers we've been looking for—and the inside story on Big Oil.

In The Tyranny of Oil, Antonia Juhasz investigates the true state of the companies collectively known as "Big Oil," uncovering their unparalleled global financial power, their political dominance, and their increasingly destructive plans for the future. And she tells us what we can do about it.

A tool for meaningful change that blends history, original investigative research and reporting, candid interviews with key insiders, and a unique focus on activism, The Tyranny of Oil is required reading for every concerned global citizen.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By RSProds TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Four and a half ENGROSSING Stars!!! Everyone should read this book if you want to get the real story of oil in the USA and around the world! Investigative author Antonia Juhasz has produced an extensive, sobering study of the oil industry with all of its historical implications, background stories, and relevance to today's problems. In 2007, according to Ms Juhasz, the oil industry was "far and away the most profitable industry in the world", even considering Wal-Mart's burgeoning sales. This book is full of cases that range from the very first US oil gusher, to the birth of "Big Oil", expansionism, the countering Progressive and Populist Movements, oil wars, political scandals, illegalities, manipulations, and the negative impact on the environment, the author points to the long-lasting effects on the world and our lives. She is not in favor of just summarily shutting down the oil industry, but she has some unique ideas of what to do with it. She covers a wide range of additional oil matters from the preeminence of Standard Oil, antitrust laws like the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Federal Trade Commission, the Teapot Dome Scandal, foreign oil companies, lobbyists, ICE energy futures traders, alleged market manipulation, the different types of oil drilling, and how we arrived at the current situation. Of special interest is the 1911 breakup of Standard Oil which was such a huge monopoly that it had to be split into 34 separate companies and also of special interest are the sections on the oil implications of the Iraqi War and Iran which are highly informative. The author 'pulls no political punches' as she describes the Reagan administration's initiation of the dismantling of anti-trust legislation, how the Clinton administration let the "Enron loophole" slip through and how the Clinton and George W. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book is great... except for 26 April 2010
By R. J. McCabe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Reality.

Actually, I COULD have rated this book 5 stars because Juhasz has written an excellent review of the history and current status of the oil industry.

Insightful, and lucid, she presents a compelling case against 'Big Oil'. And she reminds us (repeatedly) that anti-monopoly regulations are less about the ability to control prices and MOSTLY about keeping political power out of the hands of a few monopolists who will pay to continue to make as much money as possible, damn the external impacts. Perhaps the Supreme Court justices should have been made aware of this minor fact when the voted to permit unlimited corporate spending on political TV ads a few months back. Frighteningly stupid IMO.

So why didn't I rate it 5 stars?

Because her solutions revolved around the implied assumption that if we limit Big Oil's ability to provide this (currently) vital commodity, we will reduce our CONSUMPTION of oil. Not true. WE THE PEOPLE are a major contributor to the problem. We have the power to DEMAND alternatives that don't use oil, but we don't. Bashing Big Oil is nice (and rarely incorrect), but we need to look in the mirror and ask if we've really TRIED to demand something other than the STATUS QUO. Thought not.
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN EXTENSIVE, SOBERING INVESTIGATION OF "BIG OIL" & ITS POWER 24 Oct 2008
By RSProds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Four and a half ENGROSSING Stars!!! Everyone should read this book if you want to get the real story of oil in the USA and around the world! Investigative author Antonia Juhasz has produced an extensive, sobering study of the oil industry with all of its historical implications, background stories, and relevance to today's problems. In 2007, according to Ms Juhasz, the oil industry was "far and away the most profitable industry in the world", even considering Wal-Mart's burgeoning sales. This book is full of cases that range from the very first US oil gusher, to the birth of "Big Oil", expansionism, the countering Progressive and Populist Movements, oil wars, political scandals, illegalities, manipulations, and the negative impact on the environment, the author points to the long-lasting effects on the world and our lives. She is not in favor of just summarily shutting down the oil industry, but she has some unique ideas of what to do with it. She covers a wide range of additional oil matters from the preeminence of Standard Oil, antitrust laws like the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Federal Trade Commission, the Teapot Dome Scandal, foreign oil companies, lobbyists, ICE energy futures traders, alleged market manipulation, the different types of oil drilling, and how we arrived at the current situation. Of special interest is the 1911 breakup of Standard Oil which was such a huge monopoly that it had to be split into 34 separate companies and also of special interest are the sections on the oil implications of the Iraqi War and Iran which are highly informative. The author 'pulls no political punches' as she describes the Reagan administration's initiation of the dismantling of anti-trust legislation, how the Clinton administration let the "Enron loophole" slip through and how the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations allowed thousands of oil company mergers, including mega-mergers such as Exxon with Mobil, among others. She describes how Big Oil exercises its influence from the 'price at the pump' to the "erosion of democracy, environmental destruction, global warming, violence, and war". And how much oil is left? The answers by her estimates are surprising and disturbing, which may explain the gouging that's currently going on. She states we must not only end the tyranny of oil in our lives, but also that of the "Big Oil" organizations. Then she explains why we must do it and how, using concepts that are workable if somewhat idealistic. As a plus, the author solves the mystery of some of those unusual oil company names, logos & acronyms. Antonia Juhasz has written an outstanding and disturbing book, with some moderate repetitiveness, that points the way out of the present oil dilemma to a better future by remembering past mistakes. The words of Henry Demarest Lloyd reverberate across the pages of this book: "For the ignorance of the public is the real capital of monopoly". Indeed! Highly Recommended. Four and a half INVESTIGATIVE stars! (This review is based on an eReader digital download.)
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive and Magnificent 10 Nov 2008
By Che Marischino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This timely tome is the best current overview of the oil industry out there, and the most ambitious examination of Big Oil since Daniel Yergin's "The Prize." I found it to be a lot more incisive than Yergin (who as an industry consultant, was reluctant to expose his clients' worst crimes, except as aberrations), since it is a more critical examination of the industry (in the tradition of the author's muckraker hero, Ida Tarbell, who she introduces early on), while being clearly written and amply referenced.

What results is a sweeping examination of virtually all the big controversies related to the oil industry -- from the recent history of weak antitrust policies to Peak Oil to Iraq and the relationship between Big Oil and the military -- to global warming. Given the volatility of oil and gas prices, the explanation of how the industry is structured and how futures markets work are particularly useful.

We are also introduced to people who suffer the immediate impacts of oil industry development -- from a poor African-American community downwind from Chevron's giant Richmond, CA refinery to Nigeria (where Chevron helicoptered in security forces that opened fire on nonviolent protesters) to Ecuador (where the company is being sued for dumping ten times more oil in a pristine area of the Amazon than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez).

The suggestions at the end of the book are bold but grounded in solid policy frameworks -- proposals that the post-oiligarchy administration will heed if they don't want to mere cosmetic and incremental reforms.

In sum, if you want one book that explains the key facts about the oil industry as well as the policies necessary to curb the threats it poses to democracy and our survival, read this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tyranny of Oil - Antonia Juhasz - (Harper) 14 July 2010
By BlogOnBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Long before the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Oil has been a problem. More specifically, Big Oil has been a big problem.

In Antonia Juhasz's must read, `The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry and What We Must Do to Stop It' - just released in paperback - the author reveals numerous secrets of the oil business; secrets that are having a profound effect on our environment, global economies and the prospect of never-ending wars in hot zones across our planet.

Everyone knows Big Oil is trouble, but `Tyranny' is a book that rips the cover off the ball in explaining just how we got into this mess, how vast the problem is in relation to world economies and what can be done to curtail the influence of what is arguably the number one devastation factor facing the earth as we know it.

Rather than sounding alarm bells, Juhasz (`The Bush Agenda') explains the factors that got us to this very unusual place on our history; the early conglomeration of oil interests that was John D. Rockfeller's Standard Oil Trust of the late 1800's, to the break up of the company via the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, to the re-emergence of a virtual monopoly (again) of the business as all the pieces of that former company have now been reassembled through the government approval of over 2,400 mergers and acquisitions resulting in the so-called `Seven Sisters' of oil. (i.e. ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, ConocoPhillips, Valero; not to mention state owned firms like Saudi Arabia's Aramco, Brazil's Petrobras, etc.)

Along the way, tales of political corruption (particularly of the Republican party), arduous lobbying, the influence of administrations from Reagan to Bush II, the `necessity of war' to protect vital petroleum interests around the world, particularly in the Middle East, and the oil companies' lip-service to developing truly alternative energies are all uncovered in the book.

Oil is the lifeblood of the planet and `Tyranny' shows just how far the powerful (7 of the world's top 10 companies are now oil companies) will go to wring every last drop from the earth (onshore, offshore, federal lands, and even the radically environmentally destructive extraction of 'shale oil'). Political overthrows, explosions, the hundreds of deaths of drilling rig operators and severe pollution are mere inconveniences in the path of Big Oil's goals. The quotes, records and other documentation will make your skin crawl.

Given the precarious state of our environment, our economy and our politics, `The Tyranny of Oil' is both a must-read - and will be among our finalists for Book of the Year. Get it, read it, pass it on.
64 of 91 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Efficient hack job 27 April 2009
By Philip John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is a nice hatched job. Those who are ignorant of the oil industry walk away with a good hallucination of the conspiracy that is big oil.

If that is all you want to read about, then this book will do fine. If you want reality, or have some basic knowledge of the industry, you will tire of it quickly.

The premise of the book falls apart when you examine the details:
1. "Big oil" is actually not that big. All of the major oil companies are dwarfed by the National Oil Companies.
2. Oil is not "easy" to find, nor are oil companies sitting on vast reserves that they refuse to produce. Discoveries have declined every decade from the 1950s, despite drastic increases in technology.
3. Despite massive profits and massive reinvestment, most of the major oil companies were unable to find sufficient reserves to replace production in the last decade.
4. Oil companies do not control market prices. Perhaps the hedge funds and banks that employed the former Exxon traders do, but the majority of oil companies do not hedge effectively (just take a look at the recent layoffs and losses - if they were controlling the market, you would think they would have done a much better job and hedged at $147/bbl oil).
5. Oil companies mergers were not an attempt to reform the "Spawn of Big Oil". The author conveniently ignores the $10/bbl oil price of the 1980s and 90s and the devastating effect this had on personnel and infrastructure. Many companies were forced into mergers in order to survive. You only need take a look at the price of shares in any of the big oil companies during that time to realize they were, essentially, worthless. When it is cheaper to buy reserves than take a loss while exploring for oil under 5,000 ft of water, mergers make sense.
6. The lack of oil refineries is NOT due to an oil company conspiracy. Most big oil companies have sold off their refineries because they return almost no profit (and many routinely lose money) while requiring significant maintenance.
7. The author ignores the effect regulation has on refinery construction. It is almost impossible to build extensions without long, costly and frequently arbitrary regulations. You can forget about building a new refinery - to do that you need to go to Mexico.

I could go on and discuss the huge shortage of petroleum engineers, the lack of a comprehensive energy policy from any administration, the vast quantities of land, natural gas and water our current agricultural system consumes or the cheap price of oil currently compared to extraction costs - but why attempt to burst the conspiracy bubble?
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