The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power
by Daniel Yergin. I don't often try to tackle a book of this scope and size (775 pages) but this was well worth
the effort. I have read parts of this book over the years to get some particular datum for a project, but never
tried to read it cover to cover.
The Prize tells the history of the oil industry from its discovery in northwestern Pennsylvania in the 1860's through (in the 2008 version) the recent rise in oil prices in 2008. It was interesting up to WW2 then it was impossible to put down afterwards.
The section on WW2 gave a completely different perspective on the flow of the war in Europe and the Pacific than I had ever read before. The critical battles and overall strategies of the Axis powers were discussed in light of the quest for petroleum to fuel the military effort, and the economic growth to maintain the empires if successful.
This is an outstanding book. No other book that I have read puts the events of the 20th Century in such clear perspective. From the 1956 Suez Canal incident, to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979, to the $4 or more gallon of gas I paid for in 2008, this book really helps understand the interconnectedness of these events.