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The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East Hardcover – Aug 9 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (Aug. 9 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439155178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439155172
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 762 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #196,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“The role of oil in the foreign policy of the United States is the subject of endless conspiracy theories. The reality is both more mundane and more startling than the conventional wisdom would have it. Andrew Cooper has lifted the lid from a crucial period of U.S. policy. Mining a rich lode of previously unreleased documents, Cooper uses the very words of the protagonists to tell a story so sensitive that it has remained virtually covert. In doing so, he sheds surprising new light on U.S.-Iranian relations and the origins of the Iranian revolution.”

—Gary Sick, author of All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran and former member of the National Security Council

"Adds significant insight to one of the most important periods in the American relationship with petroleum. . . . [The Oil Kings] excels by virtue of focus, discipline, and original research. Supporting his account, Cooper draws from significant sources – most of which were classified until recently – that re-create the personal relationships that proved crucial to world history."
—Brian Black, The Christian Science Monitor

"Relying on a rich cache of previously classified notes, transcripts, cables, policy briefs and memoranda, Cooper explains how oil drove, even corrupted, American foreign policy during a time when Cold War imperatives still applied. . . . The most compelling dimension to Cooper’s narrative is the story of U.S-Iran relations, particularly during the Nixon and Ford administrations. . . . A revelatory, impressive debut."
Kirkus Reviews

“As uprisings today rock the Muslim world, with America at war across the region, Andrew Cooper transports us back to where it all began: with the startling diplomatic and military machinations of the seventies, when oil first became a global weapon and the White House was roiled by Vietnam and Watergate. Meticulously researched, vividly told, with an inside-the-room intimacy, The Oil Kings reminds us of the ultimate folly of America’s efforts to dominate world events—especially through its co-dependency with rival petro-states. This is an important and powerful book.”

—Barry Werth, author of 31 Days: The Crisis That Gave Us the Government We Have Today

"Scintillating diplomatic history. . . . Cooper gives a lucid analysis of shifting oil markets and unearths revelations . . . from meticulous research. . . . Its centerpiece is Cooper's superb, lacerating portrait of Henry Kissinger. As the super-diplomat's obsession with great-power rivalries founders in a new world of global economics that he can't fathom, Cooper gives us both a vivid study in sycophancy and backstabbing and a shrewd critique of Kissingerian geo-strategy."
--Publishers Weekly

“[Cooper] skillfully mines previously classified documents to make clear that high-profile inmates were running the foreign-policy asylum.”

—Paul Jablow, Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

Andrew Scott Cooper holds advanced degrees from Columbia University, University of Aberdeen, and Victoria University. Dr. Cooper has worked at the United Nations and Human Rights Watch and is a columnist for PBS/Frontline's Tehran Bureau.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The Oil Kings" is an in depth study of the labyrinthine relationships that existed between the Shah of Iran, the Saudi Royal Family and the United States during the Nixon and Ford administrations. The story line is so involved that I can only begin to summarize the contents. A few examples will have to suffice to give you a taste of what is in store for the reader. Some of us remember the day when Iran was America's ally in the Persian Gulf. Here we get a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes. On these pages we read that the close relationship between the Shah and President Nixon, lubricated perhaps by inebriation on Nixon's part, led to a promise to sell the Shah any military equipment "short of the atomic bomb." We are introduced to the Shah's insatiable appetite for military equipment that retarded development of his nation and ultimately led to his downfall. We are reminded of the oil shocks of the 1970s that so disrupted the economies of America and Europe that fears of revolution and Communist takeovers were realistically entertained. We read here of actions within OPEC that gave the House of Saud the opportunity to use the price of oil to undercut its rival for Middle Eastern supremacy by restricting the flow of petrodollars without which the Shah could not fulfill his financial commitments or the satisfy the demands of his people. We see an era during which the United States devolved from a superpower protecting its regional interests from Soviet expansion to an atrophied giant negotiating with its former clients from a position of weakness.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stunning revelation of cunning, duplicity, deception and controlling behaviour from an American who led presidents, the EU, ASIA and country to the brink of financial, political and social ruin.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting story. Problem is it is repetitive and could have been written in half the space. Far too detailed to keep the reader (in my case) focused. The editor should have cut it in half.
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