A History of Oil
March 8, 2018 Amazon Support

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A History of Oil
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By Robert Newman, its a heavily researched and humourous examination of the history of oil. I hadn’t heard of him until I enjoyed an article of his online in the Guardian last year.

After recording it of More4, I rewatched it a couple of times, its quite dense with a lot of historical references supporting his material. His controversial ( he presents it that way ) argument is he believes the first World War was a battle for Iraqi oil. Germany were building a railway to Baghdad.

His argument goes that the European countries were switching their war machines from coal to oil at that time and this would provide Germany with an overland link to its African colonies avoiding the British Nacy. Interestingly the first British batallion deployed in WW1 was the Dorset’s to Basra, which as he tells it generally goes unsaid.

I had been reading Salam Pax’s Baghdad Blog around the same time and he referenced a lot of the places around the capital. I was doing some fact checking on the stuff mentioned in the book when I came across a wikipedia page for RAF Habbaniya a base west of Baghdad occupied by the British from 30s to the 50s now run by the U.S.

When the current Iraq war broke out I spoke to my dad as I recollected having been there when he was in the RAF. I checked with him and he was stationed there for a while although he could not remember when ( late forties/early fifties). Its weird the connections that searches and hyperlinks can help make.

Newman says in the 95 years since oil was first discovered in the middle east we have been occupying or at war for 45 of them. Its funny looking at the ludicrous times for withdrawal the US/UK alliance proposed when they entered Iraq. Such a farce. I hope in the next hundred years as we figure out how to survive without oil, and that it will lead to less slaughter than the fight to get oil.

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