NONFICTION

Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America's Power

S. & S. 2017. 512p. illus. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781501107931. $29; ebk. ISBN 9781501107955. POL SCI
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In this work, O'Sullivan (director, Geopolitics of Energy Project & Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Univ; Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism), former special assistant to President George W. Bush, describes how policy and technology changes in the oil and especially natural gas industry dramatically increased energy supply and lowered prices. Like Daniel Yergin's The Quest, the book's focus is energy markets' broad but often opaque influence on world economies, alliances, and conflicts. O'Sullivan argues that the recent supply increase has benefited the United States and laid the ground for further strategic gains. The book is best when it explains how the shifting energy landscape drove political and economic factors, such as the weakening Russian economy, which set the stage for the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Emerging energy sources, such as wind and solar, receive relatively little coverage. The conclusion's predictions and strategic recommendations, however, seem dated in light of postelection events.
VERDICT Recommended with reservations for readers interested in how global energy markets shaped the U.S. political context in 2016.

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