To provide a quick impression of Hubbert’s Peak, imagine the Iliad written not by Homer, but by Homer Simpson: Hubbert’s Peak describes an epic topic written in colloquial American. More specifically it is written in Oklahoman, a piquant dialect that this reviewer well remembers hearing from his Okie line managers when working in the oil patch.

In 1956 M. King Hubbert published a graph showing US oil production from 1875 to 1956. He used this to predict that US production would peak in the early 1970s and thereafter decline at a rate defined by a Gaussian curve. Hubbert’s prediction...

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