In the 20th century, the availability and low cost of oil triggered the industrial growth and development of the world’s leading economies. Today, cheap, accessible oil supplies are dwindling, and the true cost to the world’s environment of our profligate use of "black gold" is becoming clearer. America is embroiled in warfare and diplomacy to retain its hold on the Persian Gulf, the world’s richest petroleum-producing region. In this new entry in the popular Groundwood Guides series, James Laxer tells the story of the rise of the giant petroleum companies and how they seized control of oil fields and markets worldwide. Laxer explains the relationship between oil, geopolitics, and money, and he examines how different parts of the world both users and suppliers relate differently to this commodity. Finally, he describes the stark choices humanity faces as oil supplies decrease and climate change, intensified by the burning of petroleum and coal, threatens earth's future.