It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet. Rev. ed.


370 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-385-66011-1
DDC 333.8'232





Reviewed by Barb Bloemhof

Barb Bloemhof is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport
Management at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Journalist Linda McQuaig has reissued It’s the Crude, Dude presumably
to answer critics’ questioning her premise that the invasion of Iraq
was primarily motivated by a quest for control of a ready supply of
conventional petroleum resources. A sub-theme in her book is the
profligacy of North American consumption and the short time to depletion
of sources of oil supply.

The arguments do not entirely work, being at times ill-focused and
overly reliant on innuendo in lieu of evidence. For example, one
argument divides the public into the virtuous and the profligate—if
only it were that simple. Most people do not have the choice of the
kinds of change necessary to “get off oil.” True, significant
conservation need not involve personal inconvenience given existing
energy-saving technologies; but how much more useful it would have been
to learn about barriers to their adoption, or to see the role that
investment in durable capital plays in perpetuating the status quo.

The research on this complicated topic is weak, consisting of selected
secondary sources and several newspaper articles, leaving the reader
with doubts about balance. Omissions include the significantly improved
energy recovery due to orderly oil pricing; the uncertainty about the
likely date of the peak of global oil production; the changes to Western
economies in the 1970s; the dates of the National Energy Program; and
the prominence of government grants and policy intervention to encourage
Canadians off oil. There’s no reason to believe that reducing oil
consumption could make inroads against world poverty, or that most
people likened Faisal to Hitler. The human race cannot be blamed for an
“astonishing lack of foresight” without the institutions and
organization needed to embody that foresight. On the whole, McQuaig
makes some sensible points, but draws more conclusions that are crude.


McQuaig, Linda., “It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 18, 2024,