Kieran Pender

Oiling the Wheels

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth


The Bodley Head 406pp £20 order from our bookshop

Across four hundred pages of wit, cynicism and dark humour, two lines in Rachel Maddow’s second book, Blowout, stand out. They just so happen to be on the same page. As Maddow, an Emmy Award-winning MSNBC host, outlines the curse that has seen corruption and poor governance blight developing countries endowed with resource wealth, she quotes the former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani: ‘All in all … I wish we’d discovered water.’ The founder of OPEC, Venezuelan diplomat Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, is more direct: ‘Oil is the excrement of the devil.’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter