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H. Kissinger has said: 'control energy and you control the nations.'
W. Engdahl explains the all importance of oil in world domination, and more specifically its geopolitical, military, economic and financial impact.
Oil became for the first time an important raw material during World War I, when air, mobile tank and swifter naval warfare held the upper hand.
After WW I the British sought to secure their petroleum supplies, by creating the League of Nations, which was only a facade of international legitimacy to a naked imperial seizure of territory.
British imperial power was based on 3 pillars: control of world sea-lines, of world banking and finance and of strategic raw materials. Through its free trade policy (liberalism) it tried to preserve and to serve the interests of an exclusive private power: a tiny number of bankers and institutions of the City of London.
Its hegemony was attacked and replaced by the US after WW II, confirmed by the Bretton-Woods Agreements with the creation of the IMF and the World bank.
The new hegemon was (and is ) built on 2 pillars: military power and the dollar, but those pillars are fundamentally intertwined with one commodity: petroleum, the basis of the world economy's growth engine.
10 % of the Marshall aid to Europe after WW II served to buy US oil. The big US oil companies asked top dollars for their exports and obtained also that the aid could not be used to build refineries.
The Vietnam war constituted a massive diversion of the US industry into the production of defense goods (pillar 1).
The first oil shock of 1973 made the US banks the giants of world banking and the oil companies the giants of world industry: 'The artificial oil price inflation was a manipulation of the world economy of such a hideous dimension that it created an unprecedented transfer of the wealth of the entire world into the hands of a tiny minority. It was no less than a global world taxation through petrodollars.' (pillar 2, confirmed by Sheikh Zaki Yamani).
The oil companies also took the 'blossom of the nuclear rose'.
A cardinal goal of US foreign and military policy is control of every major existing and potential oil source. Such control would permit it to decide who gets how much energy and at what price: 'a true weapon of mass destruction'.
William Engdahl's brilliant but frightening analysis puts in the same framework Iraq, the Balkan wars, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergency of the oligarchs, the financial crises across Asia, the civil wars in Africa, the IMF and World bank policies, the fall of the Shah (after the collapse of the negotiations with BP), as well as the murders or 'accidental' deaths of W. Rathenau, I. Krueger, E. Mattei, J. Ponto and A. Moro.
At the start of the new millenium, the US has a near monopoly on military technology and might, commands the world's reserve currency and is able to control the assets of much of the industrial world. It fights for a near monopoly on future energy resources; in other words, for 'full spectrum dominance'.
William Engdahl has written an eye opening, fascinating but extremely dark book.
A must read.
66 comments24 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
"A Century of War" defines the centres of power behind the events that have shaped modern civilization. It gives their perspective and methods of expanding that power by subtly manipulating international events to their benefit.

The history begins with the description of the well known policy of England since ancient times to manipulate the countries of Europe, so that conflict would prevail there. Thus the island nation was left in peace to dominate the seaways, and loot the raw materials of the world.

This remarkable book goes on to describe in detail how the same policy was adopted by the United States in harmony with England, as the two super powers used surprising and subtle methods to gain control of the riches of other nations, particularly the world oil supply. When the victim nation tried to take control of its own natural resources it was often plunged into financial depression or mired in war or political upheavals. Always it was to the benefit of the two superpowers.

In thrall to this international game, they invested their huge financial gains internationally rather than in their own industries, infrastructures, and technological development, thus weakening their own true wealth.

The traditional view of history is completely overthrown by this piercing account, which reveals that behind the historical scenes were puppet masters, manipulating every movement of the play. For example, the second world war is normally blamed entirely on Hitler, but once one knows that he was helped to power by England to destroy not only Europe, but Germany and Russia, one can no longer view the Second World War in quite the same way.

This book is a must read in the effort to understand the story of how we got to where we are today, who the powers really are who are determining our futures, and what motivates them.
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on 3 July 2007
This is a must read book for anyone who is interested in learning the truth behind the headlines relating to many recent events. From the Falklands War to the current war in Iraq, this book analysis the economic factors that lead to - or in some way influenced - some of the major global events in modern history.

It explores in detail the relationships, theories and possible motives behind them without ever descending into crazy 'conspiracy' theories.

I've bought this book for a number of people and urge anyone who has an interest in the world around them to read it.
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on 5 July 2015
The first of F William Engdahl's publications which sets the path for his subsequent books. This book reads well and will intrigue the student of history or current affairs as well as the experienced reader. William Engdahl's knowledge is detailed and broad yet his honest explanation really links the connections between geography, politics and successor geopolitical rivalries from late 19th century. It is advised for the reader to understand European rivalries and Anglo-French attempts of global monopoly. This first introduction really focuses on the tragic 20th century and the incessant greed and political machinations which seem to repeat historical follies again and again. Well done to F. W. Engdahl for clearly organising and presenting what many people were already piecing together.
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on 5 February 2006
This is one of the best books i have ever read- i read it twice since some of the information is so important.
This book re-writes history as never before.the detail of the references is outstanding.
read this book it may change how you view our world, what you believe in and history in general.
22 comments7 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 May 2006
If you every wondered WHY we are "suddenly" chasing OIL half-way around the world, while America is kept in the dark - READ this book.

Another excellent book on Geo-Political influences and what America has been involved in since WWII, read and share:

"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man". You will not think about our Country, the World, the same. Our Country has lost it's way - we must understand our history - before we can clean up our mistakes and create a better future for all.
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on 23 September 2007
Having recently read Richard Heinberg's The Party's Over and Paul Roberts End of Oil I thought that this book would prove an interesting companion piece. But unfortunately A Century of War is not nearly as well written or as thoroughly researched as these other two books.

There is certainly some truth in a number of the pages of history covered by A Century of War but a lot of the claims regarding what "really" happened aren't very persuasive. This is usually due to a lack of any detailed explanation as to what the motivations were of the protagonists.

For the most part, the book focuses on US foreign policy and the economic warfare carried out over the past century. Oil politics is only discussed in relatively little depth here. Instead Engdahl spends far more time detailing the role British and American major banks have played in shaping the last century. A lot of the chapters seem quite repetitive on this subject.

However the main problem with the book is that it tries to tie too many prominent areas of history together as if they are part of a large master plan carried out without deviation by various British and US administrations in collusion with the major British and US banks. Yes there is almost certainly some truth to be found in this book and yes the IMF and World Bank have a lot to answer for. But too much of this book doesn't appear to have enough depth or reference material to backup the claims made. The result is that it is hard to believe much of what you read.

If the book were better written I'd have still given in 3 stars but as someone who generally enjoys reading this kind of book I found it quite boring in places.
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on 22 March 2008
Whilst some aspects of this book are interesting, the writing style is not particularly academic - several sweeping arguments in the new preface are a big warning sign. Reads more like a desperate graduate work which, having made its hypothesis, tries (at times convincingly, but often not) to fit the facts to the ideas. I seriously wonder if that was how it began.

Some sections are well researched, but the author always lets himself down when it comes to his explanations, fails to present alternative possibilities or acknowledge other theories, and uses language which is extremely unacademic at times. This is frustrating for the reader who can see a great potential in the project, but meets such mediocre logic and argument building from the very first page.

Claiming to write about geopolitics, but then using such biased language, faulty logic and single-mindedness are mistakes from the author which will quickly drive readers schooled in the area / interested in proper debate to annoyance. This creates a frustrating experience, which eventually becomes slightly comical.

I will not give a list of examples of suspicious logic, poor academia, colored language, bitter irrelevant "asides", or infuriating generalizations here. Despite all the problems, it can be an enjoyable book. Just keep in mind that this work has limitations in several areas whilst you read.
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on 11 August 2005
If you believe that the brits started the first and second world war then you'll love this book. oh yes and the CIA were responsible for giving the worlds hippies. Those dastardly spooks!
Some of this nonsense might be quite funny if it were not so grindingly badly written. It is a shame that the author is clearly so prejudiced as the subject matter is potentially very interesting . Opportunity missed. Avoid
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on 7 February 2011
This book is an absoloute joke, some of the claims made in it are absoloutely absurd its like reading a conspiracy theory. The author has found a way of linking every major event in the past 100 years to British and American greed for oil often with no evidence at all. Dont waste your time on this book.
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