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The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea Hardcover – Oct 23 2007

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 27 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
$95 for a barrel of oil makes this required reading! Nov. 4 2007
By James N. Falk - Published on
Format: Hardcover
With nearly two decades of reporting experience in Central Asia for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, LeVine is uniquely qualified to meld the history of the nations bordering the Caspian Sea with contemporary geopolitics. While well-researched and documented, The Oil and the Glory reads like a spellbinding mystery, making it a quick and pleasant read. Bribes, political backstabbing and policy divisions within the U.S. governments are described in colorful detail. Importantly, the Caspian Sea reserves could greatly decrease our dependence on Middle Eastern Oil if we can maintain our strategic advantage which is being undercut by the Putin's government.

LeVine's The Oil and the Glory, like the Yergin's The Prize, is destined to be required reading for those wishing to understand how oil, while vital, is sometimes described as a curse.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A riveting book! Nov. 3 2007
By Ixion - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Oil and the Glory" reads like a combination of "The Prize", People Magazine, News of the World, and "Wealth of Nations".

Especially enjoyable are the descriptions of the major oil company execs, rather different from what company spin doctors offer (but for those of us who knew or knew of them, accurate)... Also good are the profiles of Jim Giffen and John Deuss, the kind of people I thought only existed in fiction...

Mr. LeVine has reported for the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times and others, and has done a brilliant job capturing the past and present history and adventures (and adventurers) in what is one of the most important oil provinces in the world.

But beware -- once you start reading this book, it's pretty hard to put it back down in order to eat, sleep, or do other activities that normally occupy one's time...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Oil and the Glory May 4 2008
By Algis Ratnikas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The story of Caspian oil for commercial use began in the late 19th century as the value of oil surged with the development of industry and transportation. This story has been brought to life by Mr. Steve Levine in a remarkable tale that focuses on the pivotal players involved. Following the initial development of the Baku oil fields, the area assumed military importance in 2 world wars and then became cloaked under the proprietorship of the Soviet Union. It was not until the breakup of the USSR that Caspian oil became accessible to foreign development. Levine has managed to make direct contact with many of the players active in the post Soviet rush to grab a piece of the Caspian oil action. These players include senior corporate executives, national leaders, state representatives and a handful of individuals eager to cash in on the bonanza waiting to be grabbed and divided. Levine has captured their stories and created a tapestry of contemporary oil history that weaves together endless skeins of personal greed, power, and money, along with national interests of power, wealth and defense.
What could have been told as a good guy / bad guy tale is instead described as a multi-player chess game, engaged on a multi-sided board of shifting squares and re-invented principals. International state teams vie with international self-serving teams of private and public corporations. Players drop allegiances and trade sides, stakes shift with the political winds, agreements forged over months fall flat overnight. Levine circles around the table examining the team players, gathering their play books. He unveils how various deals grow and then collapse forcing the players into new rounds. It is not often that one is given an inside look at how governments and businesses "play" together to reach their aims, which are often not similar. Here we are pulled into the backrooms where such "play" takes place. This particular chapter of oil history is extremely engaging and well told. May whoever writes the next chapter do so with the clarity and detail of Mr. Levine.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Awesome read... Nov. 3 2007
By R. M. Ames - Published on
Format: Hardcover
You'll literally pick this up and won't put it down.

Steve LeVine's "The Oil And The Glory" is a gripping tale of one of the world's most strategically important, yet virtually unknown parts of the world. Over the past 15 years this area has been completely shaped by Big Oil's hunt for resources, American and Russian governments battle for geopolitical influence, and independent dealmakers quest to get rich. What I liked about this book is that it's a first-hand account from guys that were there to explain how these forces shaped the region.

What initially piqued my interest in the book was 5 years living in the former Soviet Union. We heard bits and pieces that alone ended up in Bond movies (not to mention Borat). But now with oil at $90 and huge quantities from the region beginning to come on the market, the Caspian Sea is clearly becoming more strategically important. Steve's book provides right amount of historical context to help better understand these events, and his lively style, with vivid descriptions and fast pace held me until the end.

Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Interesting read for understanding the present geopolitical situation in Georgia and the rest of the Caspian region Sept. 8 2008
By K. S. Lutz - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Steve Levine has an easy to read style that definitely grasps your attention. I felt as if I wanted to know what would happen next particularly as it pertained to oil agreements with foreign governments and middlemen. This book reads like a narrative unlike other books on oil which have a matter of fact tone. This one makes one feel as if you are in the story with the players in the Caspian. However, there was one part of the book that appeared to be a bit questionable in my opinion- when the author suggested that Russian intelligence was behind Omani finance minister's death. It seems that the US oil companies had more to gain from this than the Russians given that his right hand man, Deuss, was negotiating with the Russians for a transport route through its region- something which the oil companies via the US government opposed. I would say that this is the only shady area in this book. Otherwise, excellent read. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to understand the Caspian region's oil and politics and how they interrelate with one another especially as it pertains to the recent Russian/Georgian conflict.