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2.0 out of 5 stars
An ugly disappointment, despite beautiful title, 2 May 2008
"New Stakes in the Caucasus and Central Asia" is among my worst purchases ever on Amazon. Let me explain.
First, the book offers nothing new and gives an overview of information and opinions of external sources. Although this may be sufficient for a thesis (which forms the basis of this book), it disappointed me.
Second, the opening chapter about the oil industry has some major weaknesses. It leans too much on a 1991 publication of Yergin. Moreover, the author fails to put the 1956 Suez crisis within the chapter's perspective. He does not mention that the invasion of Egypt by England, France and Israel made Saudi Arabia decide to implement an oil embargo against the former two countries. Another flaw is that the author calls this invasion "very poorly organised", while the invasion was actually well organised from a military point of view.
Third, the maps in "New Stakes in the Caucasus and Central Asia" are small and rather dark, making it hardly possible to read them. Undoubtedly the most annoying part of this book is a map with names written in Russian.
Fourth, the extremely large letters make it difficult for me to enjoy reading the book, as the appropriate distance between eyes and book is longer than my arms.
Fifth, if letter size and line distance would have been average, the core text of the book may have filled only 50 pages (now 110). Combined with its disappointing contents, this makes the book overpriced.
All in all, I would advise against buying this book. For those interested in Caspian Sea affairs, I would strongly recommend "The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia" by Lutz Kleveman. This is a very informative and well-written book. Believe it or not, it is actually much cheaper than "New Stakes in the Caucasus and Central Asia".