By Steve LeVine
Distant, forbidding, and unstable, the Caspian Sea lengthy tantalized the area with its colossal oil reserves. yet outsiders, blocked by way of the closed Soviet approach, couldn’t get to it. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and a wholesale rush into the area erupted. in addition to oilmen, representatives of the world’s best countries flocked to the Caspian for a percentage of the thirty billion barrels of confirmed oil reserves at stake, and a stressful geopolitical fight begun. the most avid gamers have been Moscow and Washington–the former looking to preserve regulate of its satellite tv for pc states, and the latter motive on dislodging Russia to the good thing about the West.
The Oil and the Glory is the gripping account of this most up-to-date section within the epochal fight for keep an eye on of the earth’s “black gold.” Steve LeVine, who was once dependent within the sector for The Wall road magazine, the recent York Times, and Newsweek, weaves an surprising story of high-stakes political gamesmanship, greed, and scandal, set in a single of the main opaque corners of the realm. In LeVine’s telling, the world’s strength giants jockey for place within the wealthy Kazakh and Azeri oilfields, whereas superpowers search to realize a strategic foothold within the zone and to maintain one another in money. on the middle of the tale is the competition to construct and function power pipelines out of the landlocked quarter, the main to controlling the Caspian and its oil. The oil pipeline that resulted, the longest on the earth, is between Washington’s maximum overseas coverage triumphs in no less than a decade and a part.
Along the way in which, LeVine introduces such gamers as James Giffen, an American moneyman who used to be additionally the political “fixer” for oil businesses wanting to do company at the Caspian and the dealer for Kazakhstan’s president and ministers; John Deuss, the fancy Dutch oil dealer who received vast yet misplaced even greater; Heydar Aliyev, the oft-misunderstood Azeri president who transcended his prior as a Soviet Politburo member and masterminded a scheme to loosen Russian regulate over its former colonies within the Caspian zone; and all demeanour of rogues, adventurers, and others drawn by means of the impossible to resist pull of untold riches and the potential “final frontier” of the fossil-fuel period. the wider tale is of the geopolitical questions of the Caspian oil bonanza, similar to even if Russia could be a depended on best friend and buying and selling associate with the West, and what Washington’s access into this significant yet chaotic quarter will suggest for its long term stability.
In an extreme and suspenseful narrative, The Oil and the Glory is the definitive chronicle of occasions which are understood via few, yet whose political and financial influence may be either profound and lasting.
"The cave in of the Soviet Union used to be an incredible chance for large Oil, whose exploits are precise during this fast paced paintings of political and fiscal reportage through Wall highway Journal strength correspondent LeVine.
Westerners have been sniffing for black gold in Russia and its satellites lengthy earlier than the empire disintegrated, notes the writer. Averell Harriman, “the Harvard-trained scion of nineteenth-century robber baron Edward Harriman,” attempted his hand on the company prior to turning to manganese mining, whereas Armand Hammer “became a cash launderer for the Bolsheviks, sneaked money to mystery Bolshevik brokers within the usa, and profited handsomely because the consultant in Russia of a few thirty American companies.” Hammer set the tone for the american citizens who flocked to the Caspian within the first years of the Clinton presidency, which maneuvered for the development of an east-west oil pipeline that, via reversing the previous development of significant Asian fabrics going north to Russia and coming again as items on the market, “would prefer the West and disfavor Russia.” no longer a pleasant strategy to deal with a fledgling democracy, however the oil scouts, in fact, thought of Russia a rival for Central-Asian assets moment in simple terms to Iran, with its heartfelt and long-standing enmity towards the us within the sector and out of the country. those scouts–the first between equals being LeVine’s heart-of-darkness antihero, Jim Giffen–kept their distance whilst Russia nonetheless had keep an eye on over the world, spurning a Gorbachev-era application to permit overseas co-ownership. yet they rushed to help separatist pursuits and inspired ethnic and political divisions that opened the door to a much bigger percentage of the wealth. the story of Giffen’s upward push and fall (the latter for possibly magnificent purposes) occupies a lot of the later pages, yet he by no means loses sight of the larger photo: specifically, imperative Asia as oil lamp and strength powder keg within the realpolitik of the following couple of years.
A advanced tale rendered understandable, with a lot drama and intrigue."--KIRKUS