“Excellent…..A gripping reconstruction of the events of last summer, when the nation was transfixed by that seemingly endless disaster…[Achenbach] skillfully weaves the many strands of that story into a seamless whole…Achenbach is one of the country’s best writers and best science explainers, and those intertwined skills are on full display in his book.”

–Justin Gillis, New York Times,

“[A] gripping narrative… In Achenbach’s masterful hands, the story takes on fresh drama and meaning… In his preface, Achenbach says the story of the oil spill is ‘as fascinating as it was horrible,’ and his book is proof that it is…he promises to rise to the challenge ‘to translate Engineer into English.’ He achieved his goal, and he has done so admirably.”

–Henry Petroski, Washington Post

“informative and even-handed…[Achenbach] does a clear, effective job of organizing much of what is known about the spill…[His] book gathers those nightmarish fragments into a cohesive narrative.”

–Colette Bancroff, St.Petersburg Times

“Achenbach lives up to his promises to make the disaster ‘into a tale that everyone can comprehend,’ with fluid, often Spartan prose and a candid tone…Achenbach appears to be the only author among the bunch who bothered to obtain emails and other documents that were not revealed in testimony.”

–Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times,,0,5101345,full.story

“After all the spilled oil and spilled ink, this book stands as the most enthralling tale of the interminable Gulf drilling disaster of 2010. Achenbach has a rare talent for making the alien world of offshore oil accessible. Telling a harrowing story of humans wrestling with a technological and environmental crisis beyond their control, he gives us an inside perspective on torturous decision-making under the watchful eyes of a nation.”

—Tyler Priest, University of Houston, Senior Policy Analyst, National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling

“Here’s what really happened at the BP spill—a compelling look behind the curtain. Joel Achenbach, one of America’s best journalists, digs up thousands of previously undisclosed documents to weave a deeply human story of failure, heroism, and the high price of oil addiction.”
—David Von Drehle, author of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

“A brilliant expose of what occurred behind the scene. The readers will be enthralled. Anyone who is an energy user must read this book. That means everyone since it is hard to live without consuming energy.”
—Greg McCormack, Former Director of the Petroleum Extension service at the University of Texas

“If I want to find out what’s just happened, I’ll switch on the radio. If I want to find out why it happened, I’ll read Joel Achenbach. He’s the best explainer alive.”
—Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The Washington Post and author of The Fiddler in the Subway

“A high-stakes adventure story, masterfully told.”
—Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God and Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny