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About the book
  • Published: 4 February 2020
  • ISBN: 9781847926364
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $39.99


Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

A ground-breaking investigation into the oil and gas industry, international corruption and world politics


Corrupt? Yes. Unimaginably lucrative? Of course. But the enemy of democracy? Blowout is the oil and gas industry as we’ve never seen it before.

Blowout is a blackly comic switchback journey with America’s most incisive political journalist, from Washington to Siberia and Equatorial Guinea, from deep within the earth’s crust to the icy Arctic seas. We witness the underground detonation of a nuclear bomb, an inept Russian spy ring, an international financial crisis, and murdered cows. And what it reveals is not just the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas but why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election.

Because Russia's rich reserves of crude have in fact stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia's rot into its rivals, its neighbours, and the West's alliances.

The oil and gas industry has polluted oceans and rivers but also polluted democracy itself – in developing and developed countries. It has propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, ‘like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can't really blame the lion. It's in her nature.’

Blowout is our final wake-up call: to stop subsidizing oil and gas, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world's most destructive industry. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, ‘Democracy either wins this one or disappears.’

  • Pub date: 4 February 2020
  • ISBN: 9781847926364
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $39.99

About the Author

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow is host of the Emmy Award–winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, as well as the author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Maddow received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford University and earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.

Praise for Blowout

“It takes enormous talent to balance brutal honesty with scorching wit. Rachel Maddow has it in spades; exposing the truth about how the fossil fuel industry threatens our existence both as a democratic people and as an entire species. Each page in Blowout is a revelation into the depth of corruption and greed that is infused into the international economy. We should be grateful that Maddow has found herself on the frontline of resistance”

David Lammy, MP

“Fulminating comes easy to Rachel Maddow. What sets her apart from other serial fulminators is that she does it with facts – and sardonic wit”

Washington Post

“[Rachel Maddow] may be a popular, progressive news-and-commentary anchor on MSNBC, but it's not to be forgotten that she holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford and seems to devour whole libraries of data before breakfast each day... Expect a tweetstorm as Maddow's indictment of a corrupt industry finds readers - and it deserves many”

Kirkus Reviews

“Radiates zing, intelligence, and black humour. Much like its author”

In Style

“All fans of Maddow, and even her detractors, will learn something new from this highly readable yet impressively detailed book. Anyone interested in the covert deals that change the nature of the global environmental and political landscape will devour. A must-have for all collections”

Library Journal

“Blowout is a compelling read, fuelled by righteous anger and anecdotes that would be utterly unbelievable were they not documented”

Kieran Pender, Literary Review

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