Here are Oil Patch Asia‘s picks of the best reads about the oil and gas industry:
by Ron Chernow
John D. Rockefeller, Sr.–history’s first billionaire and the patriarch of America’s most famous dynasty–is an icon whose true nature has eluded three generations of historians. Now Ron Chernow, the National Book Award-winning biographer of the Morgan and Warburg banking families, gives us a history of the mogul “etched with uncommon objectivity and literary grace . . . as detailed, balanced, and psychologically insightful a portrait of the tycoon as we may ever have” (Kirkus Reviews). Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller’s exceptionally rich trove of papers. A landmark publication full of startling revelations, the book will indelibly alter our image of this most enigmatic capitalist.
by Daniel Yergin
Deemed “the best history of oil ever written” by Business Week and with more than 300,000 copies in print, Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning account of the global pursuit of oil, money, and power has been extensively updated to address the current energy crisis.
by Steve Coll
In this, the first hard-hitting examination of ExxonMobil—the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States—Steve Coll reveals the true extent of its power. Private Empire pulls back the curtain, tracking the corporation’s recent history and its central role on the world stage, beginning with the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 and leading to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The action spans the globe—featuring kidnapping cases, civil wars, and high-stakes struggles at the Kremlin—and the narrative is driven by larger-than-life characters, including corporate legend Lee “Iron Ass” Raymond, ExxonMobil’s chief executive until 2005. A penetrating, news-breaking study, Private Empire is a defining portrait of Big Oil in American politics and foreign policy.
By Upton Sinclair
This lively and panoramic book, which was recently cited by David Denby in the New Yorker as being Sinclair’s “most readable” novel, was the inspiration for the movie, There Will Be Blood. It is the long-awaited film from Paul Thomas Anderson, one of the most admired filmmakers working today whose previous movies, Boogie Nights and Magnolia were both multiple Academy Award nominees. The movie stars Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York, My Left Foot) and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine).
by Paul Johnson
Modern Times isn’t strictly about oil and gas, but the history of the industry is woven through this brilliant account of the rise of the modern era.
The history of the 20th century is marked by two great narratives: nations locked in savage wars over ideology and territory, and scientists overturning the received wisdom of preceding generations. For Paul Johnson, the modern era begins with one of the second types of revolutions, in 1919, when English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington translated observations from a solar eclipse into proof of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which turned Newtonian physics on its head. Eddington’s research became an international cause célèbre: “No exercise in scientific verification, before or since, has ever attracted so many headlines or become a topic of universal conversation,” Johnson writes, and it made Einstein into science’s first real folk hero.
by Anthony Cave Brown
Here is the extraordinary tale of what the U.S. State Department once called “the most valuable commercial prize in the history of the planet,” the vast oil reserves beneath the sands of the Arabian desert. Using Aramco files never before available to scholars or journalists, dozens of personal interviews, and U.S. and British government documents, Anthony Cave Brown recounts the unceasing diplomatic and corporate maneuvers aimed at obtaining this unimaginable wealth, an ongoing drama that involved such figures as the great warrior-king Ibn Saud, founder of the Saudi dynasty; H. St. John Philby, the British scholar-adventurer who was a chief advisor to the king; the American philanthropist Charles Crane; Winston Churchill; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and assorted oil-industry executives and engineers across the United States.