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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 8 October 2003
This is a truly amazing book. Certainly, 800 pages of fine print about oil is a lot and this book is no bedtime read. Yet, at the end your only major complaint is likely to be that the story stops at the time of the first Iraq war. Whether your interest is oil, the workings of the business world, diplomacy, American, European or Middle Eastern history, you will find the most fascinating stories in this book. Mr. Yergin shows an amazing breadth and depth whether dealing with power politics, the economics of the oil price or cartel issues and throughout all these subjects the book is evenly paced. The ultimate reason to be fascinated by the book, however, is probably the nagging uneasiness about the future of hydrocarbon man: will the next energy crisis be a lasting one?
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on 30 August 2008
This book informed my thinking on foreign relations like no other. Time and again it makes the link between oil and the involvement of governments in those places where it is found. The book is beautifully written with the first two-thirds reading more like a novel than non-fiction. After reading this book, you will read the news in a different light.
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on 28 February 2012
I would recommend this book to anyone, its great, a real page turner. The three stars is in the context of the other ratings.

However, it does have a few flaws. The first is entirely faultless on the author, the book is 20-30 years old. Whilst it was completed in 1992 and hase a quite recent epilouge, the genesis of the book is clearly the early 80's. The book was clearly researched in the aftermath of the oil shocks of the 1970's and much of the books tone is informed by the impact of the shocks.

Secondly, whilst the book has excellent stuff about the development of oil in the Persian Gulf, its analysis of the relationship between the USA and Saudia Arabia from the 60/70's onwards is farcially thin. Maybe its my own prejudice but thier is no real attempt at an explaintion as to how this crucial relationship in world oil was maintained so well, esp given the obvious potential point of conflict over Israel. The farce is reached when the epilougue talks about 9/11 and omits even the fact that the terrorists were from saudia arabia! Now I dont know anymore than anyone else what the true nature of the relationship is/has been between these two coutries and the people at the top in both coutries, but a lot has been written about it by others and for this book to devote so little to this subject was deeply dissapointing.

Its a real shame as otherwise this book is a tour de force on business and geo-politics. its essential reading for anyone remotely interested in the subject matter. I'd go as far to say you can't have an informed opinion on the relationship between energy, politics and business without having read this book.
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on 16 October 2000
great insight into the history of oil. it eluminates its great importance throughout the 20th cent both politically and links the outcome of some world events with the availability and non availability of oil. i borrowed the book from the library twice but now intend to buy it. it is a fantastic read and ref book.
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on 20 May 2009
Oil doesn't interest me much at all - nor the "quest for power" - but there's a reason this was awarded the Pulitzer. From the opening page this book is unputdownable. Riveting stuff, told superbly.
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on 15 August 2015
Passion, greed, the pursuit of money, double dealing, lying, cheating, corruption, coups......this book has it all. It may sound like a description of JR Ewing (of Dallas fame) but the real life characters that Daniel Yergin describes are every bit as loud as JR.

It is hard to write a history of any industry that is both comprehensive, educational and entertaining. I was surprised how well written and engaging this book is. It is a lot of book however - at over 900 pages and the text is in a fine font. But by the end of it you will know more about oil than most industry participants. It also brings about an understanding of present day politics - for instance it helped me understand why the UK is referred to by Iran as 'Little Satan' (with the US as 'Big Satan').

Some of the trivia that Yergin covers is what makes this book so memorable and entertaining - yet the book also serves a very serious purpose in explaining how the oil industry evolved over more than a century. It is surprisingly easy to read - but due to the sheer size one ideally wants to go through it whilst on the beach for a fortnight!

I still refer to it regularly and it is never far from my desk when I am active in the markets.
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on 24 August 2016
I was recommended this book by a friend, and as a lifelong employee of one of the seven sisters I was a little embarrassed if never heard of it. This is an incredibly well written history of oil, illuminating the characters of the time. It's a long book and takes some reading, but it's worth every minute.
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on 29 June 2016
This is the BIBLE for oil and gas and energy. Gives geopolitical background, cultural insight and understanding why the energy sector is what it is. Seriously, get it. Though very thick book. I regret not getting the e-copy. Maybe I'll get that too. But doesn't make sense to spend double the amount of money for the same book. Ugh.
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on 30 December 1998
This book is a must read it is superbly written and once you start to read you will never stop .It is the ultimate history of the oil business entwined with 20th century history and all the politics war and intrigue.
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on 10 November 2014
A superbly researched and well-written account of what oil means to us. The people it has made fortunes for and those it has broken on the wheel of greed and ambition are here. Here you can read about life's true gamblers, the men who bet long, not with plastic chips but with the countries they carve up, invade or just rub out, for their oil wealth.

A real eye-opener with a fabulous list of A-list stars from the Goldsmiths and Rockefellers to Winston Churchill.
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