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Michael Hirsh…slender but powerfully written…Maass is less interested in crunching oil-supply numbers…than in exposing the cruelty and soullessness of human-kind's lust for this "violence-inducing intoxicant," as he calls it. His book teaches us an old lesson anew: that the true wealth of nations is not discovered in the ground, but created by the ingenuity and sweat of citizens. It's the same lesson the Spanish learned centuries ago when they discovered gold, the oil of their time, in the New World. They piled up bullion but squandered it on imperial fantasies and failed to build enduring prosperity, while destroying the civilizations from which they seized it.
—The New York Times