This book is in the lead for my best read of 2022 so far. For those interested in international relations, geopolitics, energy, and just about anything else that might have brought you to this website – this is a good one that you should add to your library.
The author, Daniel Yergin, is on my Mount Rushmore of influential writings and perspectives when developing my views of international politics, specifically perspectives related to energy issues.
I first encountered Yergin through his Commanding Heights documentary in the early 2000s. Next came The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money, and Power. This was my go-to during college when I wanted to learn about American energy consumption and policy history. It is an entertaining read and a great primer to understanding how energy forms the basis for so much of what happens around the globe.
Yergin’s latest book, The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, was written just as the pandemic turned into a global event. In a sense, many of the global issues went on pause for a year while that crisis unfolded, but that did not mean the globe backed away from the precipice we were approaching on so many fronts. Although dated by two years, much of this book deals with issues in the headlines today, from Ukraine to Iran to China. If you are looking for a good backgrounder on what is going on in the world today, this is a great place to start.
I also enjoyed Yergin’s insights regarding the revolutions in shale and natural gas in the US. I found that many of my ideas and concepts regarding US and global energy consumption did not take into account how influential these events of the last fifteen to twenty years radically altered the global energy balance.
And, of course, get ready to see some popular myths busted when it comes to things like the Keystone XL Pipeline and the protests at Standing Rock. As Yergin outlines in this easy-to-read book, much of what is reported in the popular media and repeated by political leaders on these fronts has little to do with the actual facts.