Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Friday, November 23, 2018

How to See the World with Different Eyes: "Oil, Power and War" by Matthieu Auzanneau

Folks, this book, Oil, Power, and War, is truly unbelievable: Matthieu Auzanneau did an enormous amount of work in digging out and reporting the whole story of the first half of the oil age, from its beginning all the way to the now, when we are reaching the global peak (and the fall may be much faster than the growth as Lucius Annaeus Seneca noted long ago).

I have to tell you, after having studied oil depletion for some two decades and having written at least three books on it, I thought I knew something about oil. But this book amazed me with the number of things I had missed.

Just an example: did you know that British planes of the Battle of Britain, during WWII, had a higher octane fuel than the German ones? That was an important advantage for Britain: a few extra octane points obtained by being able to start with a different oil source may have won the war for the allies!

Reading such a massive book will take you hours, but it is worth the effort. Afterward, you'll see the world with different eyes. Congratulations to Matthieu Auzanneau and also to Chelsea Green for having translated it into English (something very unusual for the American book market)


  1. I was wondering if you have read A Century Of War by Engdahl? If so, how would you compare the two?

    1. No... I didn't read Engdahl. Maybe I should, but too many things! Anyway, Auzennau makes a good series of cases that make me stand by my statements that "We make war with oil, not for oil"

    2. I have Engdahl and have read most of it. But I haven't seen Auzanneau (though I've now ordered a copy). Engdahl is excellent for the geopolitics and history.

  2. I can't wait to read this (no chance of affording it at this point but ...).

    It never ceases to amaze me how there is virtually no mention of oil constraints, or diesel and farm inputs more specifically, when discussing the 2008 collapse. Its as if that wasn't even a factor. I would be very interested in reading his take on that period/event.

  3. I am halfway through this book. I agree that it is very well done and super informative. I had not realized the extent of the revolving door between US oil companies and the US government, including the CIA, and much more amazing history of the oil industry. A real page turner.


  4. As a German Biologist I wonder... in the 60s we all were so enthusiastic about Nuclear Power - unlimited, cheap, long lasting - and then in the 70 s huge demonstrations against “Atom-Kraft” the new magic word.
    A fast breeder , costing Billions of precious DM - was stopped and scrapped...Now we want to demonize Nuclear Power and spend Billions of Euros and shutting down Nuclear Power and building Wind Parks - which must be shut down, when there is Too Much Wind! and when there are no Power Lines to send the power down South - billing the consumer...
    Oil and Gas are still cheap.
    We ban Diesel in the Cities - and no Oil Burners to generate heat.
    5 000 Liters minimum per household....
    Brave New World.
    Fueling the crisis are those, who by principle always protest against anything, no matter what you try. The protesters are the most stubborn conservatives, who want to live their holy Lives like in the Middle Ages, burning Wood, fossil fuels and enjoying Candle light dinners with cheap Lambrusco.
    Make Europe Great again...



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)