A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold [2 volumes]
by Xiaobing Li and Michael Molina, Editors
October 2014, 759pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-271-7
$198, £153, 173€, A272
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-272-4
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The United States consumes about 19 million barrels of oil per day.

Despite ongoing efforts to find alternatives, oil is still one of the most critical—and valuable—commodities on earth. This two-volume set provides extensive background information on key topics relating to oil, profiles countries that are major producers and consumers of oil, and examines relevant political issues.

Aside from air and water, oil is perhaps the most valuable natural resource. Oil supplies the tremendous energy needs of the modern world. What exactly is “oil,” where does it come from, how does it get consumed, and who is using it? This encyclopedia provides clear answers to these questions and more, offering students entries on the fundamentals of the oil industry and profiles of the countries that play a major role in oil production and consumption.

Volume 1 presents topical entries on critical concepts, key terms, major oil spills and disasters, and important organizations and individuals relating to the oil industry. Entries define terms such as “barrel” and “reserve,” cover incidents such as the BP oil spill, and explain the significance of organizations such as OPEC. The second volume spotlights specific countries that are major producers, consumers, exporters, and importers of oil, from the United States to Russia to Saudi Arabia to Venezuela. Each profile shows readers the importance of oil in that country through a brief background history, data on its oil usage or production, information about major trading partners, and an explanation of political issues.


  • Offers a complete resource that covers basic concepts relating to the oil industry as well as major incidents such as various oil spills and the specifics of the oil industry in key countries
  • Includes sidebars throughout the encyclopedia that present interesting information to supplement the main text as well as images, maps, and charts that provide additional meaning and context
  • Serves as an essential reference for students of social studies, geography, current events, political science, and environmental science
Xiaobing Li is professor and chair of the Department of History and Geography and director of the Western Pacific Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma. Li is the author or coauthor of Civil Liberties in China, Voices from the Vietnam War, A History of the Modern Chinese Army, and Taiwan in the 21st Century.

Michael Molina is a doctoral candidate and researcher of history and environmental studies at the University of Oklahoma. His published works include a chapter of his dissertation "Resources, Radicals and Reactionaries: The First Red Scare in Oklahoma, 1919–1920" as well as contributions to ABC-CLIO's China at War: An Encyclopedia including entries on the Long March, the Russo-Japanese War, Deng Xiaoping, the Northern Expedition, and U.S.-PRC Normalization of Relations. Molina holds a master's degree in history from the University of Central Oklahoma.


"This appears to be the first reference resource that attempts to approach oil through a social lens . . . . Oil would be an appropriate addition for larger public libraries and for academic libraries as a starting point for undergraduate inquiry into the social and cultural implications of this limited natural resource."—Booklist, February 11, 2015

"Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-level undergraduates through graduate students."—Choice, March 24, 2015

"Oil: A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold provides a wealth of context for truly understanding the importance of this viscous and vital substance."—ARBAonline, July 17, 2015
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