Image politics take centre stage in a globalized, visual and increasingly environmentally-conscious society. Tar Wars takes a critical, inside look at the international PR war over Alberta’s stewardship of its bituminous (‘tar’/’oil’/‘bit’) sands, on the video front. Through interviews with documentary filmmakers and PR specialists, and analysis of their communication strategies and the political and economic contexts, this book reveals what ‘Canada’s energy province’ teaches us about priorities and power in the world today.

Published by the University of Alberta Press in 2017


“Alberta for generations was famous for mountains, rodeos, Mormonism, football, Ukrainian culture, meatpacking and Social Credit. Say ‘Alberta’ today and any focus group replies, ‘oil’. That’s no accident, writes Prof. Geo Takach of Royal Roads University. From the 1947 oil strike at Leduc Number One, ‘resource extraction became heroic’. Alberta’s very identity was intertwined with oil sands production, for better and worse. Tar Wars documents this modern cultural phenomenon… [and] … covers all angles. … The search is compelling and clever.” [Full review here]                                                                                            — Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter

“In his extensively researched and politically provocative new book, Tar Wars, award-winning author Geo Takach… offers attentive citizens, policy wonks and communications pros a solid ‘case study in environmental communication.'”                                                                                                                                     — Rob Norris, Alberta Views

“… [Takach’s] purpose: to depolarize and ultimately enable debate of the bit-sands and their role in defining Alberta… Tar Wars highlights two points that are seldom part of the discussion. The first is that while the antagonistic ‘Alberta is energy’ approach originated with industry and political leaders, the polarizing rhetoric does not represent the views of all or even the majority of Alberta residents. The second is that polarized debate limits meaningful dialogue and political engagement… Underlying is Takach’s message that we must refuse to fall into easy stereotypes of any region, including the one we live in.” [Full review here]                                                                                                                                                                            — Nichole Dusyk, BC BookLook