The Secret World of Oil

The Secret World of Oil

Hardback

By (author) Ken Silverstein

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  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 147mm x 216mm x 38mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 13 May 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1781681376
  • ISBN 13: 9781781681374
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 147,356

Product description

Oil is the lifeblood of modern civilization, and the industry that supplies it has been the subject of intense interest and scrutiny, as well as countless books. And yet, almost no attention has been paid to little-known characters vital to the industry - secretive fixers and oil traders, lobbyists and PR agents, gangsters and dictators - allied with competing governments and multinational corporations. Virtually every stage in oil's production process, from discovery to consumption, is greased by secret connections, corruption, and violence, even if little of that is visible to the public. The energy industry, to cite just one measure, violates the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act more often than any other economic sector, even weapons. This book sets out to tell the story of this largely hidden world. Based on trips to New York, Houston, New Orleans, Paris, Geneva, and Phnom Penh, among other far-flung locales, The Secret World of Oil includes up-close portraits of Louisiana oilmen and their political handlers; an urbane, captivating London fixer; and an oil dictator's playboy son who had to choose among more than three dozen luxury vehicles before heading out to party in Los Angeles. Supported by funding from the prestigious Open Society Foundations, this is both an entertaining global travelogue and a major work of investigative reporting.

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Author information

Ken Silverstein is a fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He was a 2010-2012 Open Society Fellow. He served as Washington editor of "Harper's" magazine from 2006 to 2010. Previously on the staff of the "Los Angeles Times," Silverstein has also written for "Mother Jones," "Wallpaper," "Washington Monthly," "the Nation," "Slate," "Salon," and many other publications. In 2005, he received the Overseas Press Club Award for a series, co-written with T. Christian Miller, titled "The Politics of Petroleum" and published in the "Los Angeles Times."

Review quote

"Ken Silverstein's sharp investigative reporting has again dragged a cast of shady operators into the public eye with his must-read book, The Secret World of Oil. Oil is the cause of so much pain in the world. As the fossil fuel industry tightens its grip on our warming planet, The Secret World of Oil names names, and exposes the brokers, lobbyists, and fixers who profit from the misery of millions and the accelerating pollution of the planet." - Amy Goodman, host & executive producer, Democracy Now! "Ken Silverstein is one of the best investigative journalists of his generation - or any generation. His latest book, The Secret World of Oil, is a masterpiece of revelation. With a deft combination of detail and color, Silverstein exposes the darkest shade of crude: the fixers and middlemen who arrange the deals that provide us with the oil we need to keep our cars running and our homes warm. As Silverstein shows, these deals enrich the kleptocrats of our world and make life worse, rather than better, for their unfortunate subjects. It is a shameful and captivating tale about a pipeline of corruption that we must fix." - Peter Maass, author of Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil "Much has been written about the oil industry, but Ken Silverstein provides an entirely new window into this vitally important universe. For the first time, we encounter the fixers, flacks, and traders behind the secretive deals that drive the industry and enrich its leading operators. After reading this book, you will never think about oil in the same way again." - Michael Klare, author of The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources "Silverstein writes with keen reportorial objectivity but also understandable skepticism about...the frighteningly tyrannical hold that oil has on the free (and not-so-free) world. The book's revelations make Wall Street corruption seem tame by comparison." - Kirkus Reviews