October 26, 2019 - 7:20 PM EDT
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BOOKS: Blowout: Rachel Maddow

Oct. 26-- Oct. 26--Charismatic frackers.

Poisoned pets and people.

Creating earthquakes in Oklahoma.

Sleeper Russian agents living in sleepy American neighborhoods.

An unflappable oil executive and future secretary of state.

Russian thugs.

Deepwater Horizon.

More Russians.

A corrupt dictator's son who loves spending his oil "earnings" on everything but especially Michael Jackson memorabilia.

Rachel Maddow takes on the world, but more specifically the oil industry which lubricates world commerce in her latest book, "Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth."

Maddow blends deep-dive research with off-the-cuff humor as she relates events of the past century from the Rockefellers and Standard Oil to the diaspora of the oil monopoly into scattered smaller companies to a brief effort using a nuclear warhead as an oil-finding shovel far below the earth in the middle of America to the rise of natural gas as a commodity.

The book spends most of its pages on more recent events of the past 20 years: the rise of Valdmir Putin and Russian oil, Rex Tillerson as the head of Exxon-Mobil, the development of fracking as an affordable mining measure but one with devastating consequences.

Maddow couches her research in a strong narrative. Maddow takes time to introduce people in "Blowout" so when something happens, readers feel like they know the personalities involved. This is no dry history.

And, again, Maddow tackles a serious subject, one that shapes the world so we can move wherever we wish while working and living in comfortable indoor environments, etc., with grace, insight and humor.

Based on "Blowout" and her earlier book, "Drift," if Maddow ever decides to get out of TV news, she'll do just fine as a writer.

Source: Tribune Regional (October 26, 2019 - 7:20 PM EDT)

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