Oil, power, and war A dark history

Matthieu Auzanneau

Book - 2018

"Oil, Power, and War is a sweeping, unabashed history of oil, told by French journalist Matthieu Auzanneau. It provides a detailed account of the people and events that drove the oil industry from its earliest days, and takes a critical look at the way oil interests have commandeered politics and economies, changed cultures, disrupted power balances across the globe, and spawned wars. The author exposes the greed and reckless behavior--by a long line of characters from John D. Rockefeller t...o Dick Cheney--that moved oil along its destructive, unsustainable path, from its heyday when the first oil wells were drilled to the quest for new sources as old ones dried up. The author traces the rise of the Seven Sisters and other oil cartels, and follows the thread of oil through the crises that have shaped our times: two world wars, the Cold War, the Great Depression and the 2008 financial crash, oil shocks, wars in the Middle East, the race for Africa's oil riches, and more. We learn lesser-known stories, too, like how New York City taxes were once funneled directly to banks run by oil barons, after the city was about to default on its debt. And we gain new perspective on the central role of oil in military conflicts over the past 100 years. Now that there is much less oil available, Auzanneau looks to the future and warns that even greater conflict may arise"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 338.27282/Auzanneau Checked In
White River Junction, Vermont : Chelsea Green Publishing 2018.
Item Description
Translation of: Or noir : la grande histoire du pétrole.
Physical Description
xiv, 650 pages, 8 pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 561-617) and index.
Main Author
Matthieu Auzanneau (author)
Other Authors
John F. Reynolds (translator)
  • A seed is planted
  • John D. Rockefeller, the power of petroleum, and the spiral of expansion
  • Sharing the world market : the first attempts, at the cradle of Royal Dutch Shell
  • The automobile : American oil regenerates capitalism
  • The tank : American oil feeds the victorious fighting machines of the Great War
  • The roaring 1920s : consolidating the new empires
  • Birth of a petrol-nation : Iraq
  • The majors band together : a secretly planned industry weathers the Great Depression unscathed
  • The persistent alliance of big oil with Nazi Germany
  • The enablers of the Second World War
  • After Yalta : the United States and Saudi Arabia seal their alliance
  • Washington gives absolute power to American petroleum
  • Big oil's planetary empire and the Rockefellers' hegemonic ambitions
  • Big oil asserts itself : a matrix of political power in Washington
  • Saudi Arabia and Gabon : nations spoiled by oil
  • Cartel against cartel : OPEC's painful emergence
  • The leapfrog effect : Algeria, Biafra, and Libya
  • The golden childhood of the oil-made man
  • OPEC : scapegoat for a 1973 oil crisis made in the USA?
  • Oil money : after neocolonialism, a perilous symbiosis
  • The second oil crisis : a deadly vortex of power is unleashed around the Persian Gulf
  • The long Iran-Iraq War : a lose-lose game?
  • The oil countershock : the frenzy of the Reagan years, the collapse of the USSR, and the BCCI scandal
  • Dear Saddam : the Gulf War, the fate of the Iraqi people, and the long-term interests of Uncle Sam
  • Planetary harvest : the time of scandals
  • Grandeur and decadence : the explosion of opulence, misery, and the human footprint
  • Oil's future decline is announced : the Persian Gulf returns to the center of the chessboard
  • September 11, 2001 : a rogue Pearl Harbor
  • Shocks and ruptures : the occupation of Iraq and crisis of 2008
  • Winter, tomorrow?
Review by Publisher Summary 1

Examines how oil interests throughout history have played a major role in politics and economies, changed cultures, disrupted the balance of world powers and spawned wars, in a critical assessment that challenges popular assumptions while outlining a vision for a post-oil future.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Catholic Herald Book Awards 2019 Finalist, Current Affairs"Auzanneau has created a towering telling of a dark and dangerous addiction.”—NatureThe story of oil is one of hubris, fortune, betrayal, and destruction. It is the story of a resource that has been undeniably central to the creation of our modern culture, and ever-present during the darkest exploits of empire the world over. For the past 150 years, oil has become the most essential ingredient for economic, military, and political power. And it has brought us to our present moment in which political leaders and the fossil-fuel industry consider extraordinary, and extraordinarily dangerous, policy on a world stage marked by shifting power bases.Upending the conventional wisdom by crafting a “people’s history,” award-winning journalist Matthieu Auzanneau deftly traces how oil became a national and then global addiction, outlines the enormous consequences of that addiction, sheds new light on major historical and contemporary figures, and raises new questions about stories we thought we knew well: What really sparked the oil crises in the 1970s, the shift away from the gold standard at Bretton Woods, or even the financial crash of 2008? How has oil shaped the events that have defined our times: two world wars, the Cold War, the Great Depression, ongoing wars in the Middle East, the advent of neoliberalism, and the Great Recession, among them?With brutal clarity, Oil, Power, and War exposes the heavy hand oil has had in all of our lives—and illustrates how much heavier that hand could get during the increasingly desperate race to control the last of the world’s easily and cheaply extractable reserves.