A Pipeline Runs Through It

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Petroleum has always been used by humans: as an adhesive by Neanderthals, as a waterproofing agent in Noah's Ark and as a weapon during the Crusades. Its eventual extraction from the Earth in vast quantities transformed light, heat and power. A fresh, comprehensive in-depth look at the social, economic, political and geopolitical forces involved in our transition to the modern oil age, this title tells an extraordinary origin story, from the pre-industrial history of petroleum through to large-scale production in the mid-19th century and the development of a dominant, fully-fledged oil industry by the early 20th century. In an entirely new analysis, the book shows how the British navy's increasingly desperate dependence on vulnerable foreign sources of oil may have been a catalytic ingredient in the outbreak of WWI. The rise of oil has shaped the modern world, and this is the book to understand it.