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The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power [Paperback]

Daniel Yergin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power 4.7 out of 5 stars (70)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1993

Pulitzer Prize Winner -- and Now an Epic PBS Series

The Prize recounts the panoramic history of oil -- and the struggle for wealth power that has always surrounded oil. This struggle has shaken the world economy, dictated the outcome of wars, and transformed the destiny of men and nations. The Prize is as much a history of the twentieth century as of the oil industry itself. The canvas of this history is enormous -- from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania through two great world wars to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Operation Desert Storm.

The cast extends from wildcatters and rogues to oil tycoons, and from Winston Churchill and Ibn Saud to George Bush and Saddam Hussein. The definitive work on the subject of oil and a major contribution to understanding our century, The Prize is a book of extraordinary breadth, riveting excitement -- and great importance.

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Daniel Yergin's first prize-winning book, Shattered Peace, was a history of the Cold War. Afterwards the young academic star joined the energy project of the Harvard Business School and wrote the best-seller Energy Future. Following on from there, The Prize, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, is a comprehensive history of one of the commodities that powers the world--oil. Founded in the 19th century, the oil industry began producing kerosene for lamps and progressed to gasoline. Huge personal fortunes arose from it, and whole nations sprung out of the power politics of the oil wells. Yergin's fascinating account sweeps from early robber barons like John D. Rockefeller, to the oil crisis of the 1970s, through to the Gulf War.

From Publishers Weekly

Energy consultant Yergin limns oil's central role in most of the wars and many international crises of the 20th century. "A timely, information-packed, authoritative history of the petroleum industry, tracing its ramifications, national and geopolitical, to the present day," said PW. Photos. Author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly pulpy tome. March 20 1999
The trend toward authorial self-glorification has gone too far when the back cover of a book reads: 'Daniel Yergin is an authority on world affairs'. What's next? An Expert on Matters Pertaining to the Universe?
Considering his exalted position in the world, this is a remarkably mediocre book, though there are details worth pondering, such as the irony of Japan powering its Pearl Harbor raid with oil imported from California. Worse than that, and more sobering, is the realization that Japan subjugated Taiwan, China, and other parts of Asia over the course of four decades with oil from California. Millions of lives were destroyed, but the oil spigot was not shut off until July of 1941. Why? Roosevelt did not want to give Japan a pretext for attacking the East Indies. Yergin relates this astounding spinelessness without a hint of irony, as though it were a perfectly good excuse for supplying a fascist power with the means to mass murder.
Yergin misses the boat entirely when it comes to the price drop of the mid-eighties, claiming the Saudis flooded the market to gain market share and that George Bush went from place to place as the 'point man' for the Reagan administration arguing for a price floor for oil. Nonsense. Ronald Reagan's goal was the destruction of the Soviet Empire, and one of his key strategies was to take away the Russians' source of hard currency: the sale of oil. Every one dollar drop in the price of crude deprived the Soviets of billions of dollars of revenue, revenue that their own paraplegic of an economy could never hope to generate on its own. If there was any 'point man' for the administration in the Middle East, it was William Casey, who guaranteed the Saudis' security against Marxist revolutionaries and regional dictators like Saddam.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative. April 2 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I work in the Canadian oil industry in Alberta and found this book very interesting. It took me months of reading it in camp after work to complete, but I felt it was a great and worthwhile book because oil caused such a transformation to human life and plays a huge role in global politics. There is a lot of dry material but the author structured the book in a way that kept me interested. I'm not normally into history but after reading this I feel I have much-needed insight to how our planet operates, and why.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thick and dense Jan. 10 2014
By dw
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an incredibly narrative on the oil industry. I found the first part (pre WWII) too detailed, sometimes too focused on individuals and not so much on the companies they were running. The development of the oil industry in the Middle East was particularly fascinating - especially for the fact that worked in the oil industry in Kuwait.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Sept. 22 2011
I was impressed, I learned alot and it read more like a novel and less like a text book. I have recommended it more than a few times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding the world July 1 2004
By Frank
This book is comprehensive and well written. It will give the reader a complete history of the development of the oil industry and how it has contributed to the shaping of world events. It is especially relevant to anyone seeking to understand what is happening in the Middle East
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4.0 out of 5 stars Petroleum History Information March 8 2004
By A Customer
This book is one of the best around for historical information on the petroleum industry. It is put together in a very good chronological and logical manner that links many events and things together with each other through their common link of petroleum. It has a great deal of information on many of the leading petroleum producing nations of the world. Overall, it is a book that makes very enjoyable reading on the history and development of the petroleum industry and its importance in politics and economics. I would have given this book a five star rating if it had including much more information and deserved attention on the country of Canada and its petroleum industry since it is one of the biggest suppliers of petroleum to the United States. Also, mention of the diesel engine in its relationship as a solution to higher cetane vs octane fuels as found in early discovered petroleum is another important fact. It is hoped that if the author writes a revised version of his book that these things be considered.
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I can't use anything but superlatives for this tome. As soon as I finished it I started again. Yergin, now the president of the VERY influential private energy group CERA does an outstanding job of researching and explaining the major energy trends in the history of oil. A herculean task.... Yergin knocks it out of the park. A MUST READ.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timely Jan. 20 2004
An extremely comprehensive and educational book covering a topic that everyone, worldwide, should be familiar with, especially given current events in the Middle East.
I loved this book.
Basically, this book covers the entire history of the oil industry! The story begins with the engineers who found the undistilled rock oils in places like Pennsylvania and ends in 1992 after the Gulf War had ended. It documents how the industry evolved during that time period, how events such as the introduction of the automobile changed it, and how eventually it came to figure largely in world politics. The many people whose lives were intimately intertwined in oil are all mentioned: the engineers, the oil company execs, the sheiks, the kings, the presidents and the prime ministers.
Fascinating story.
I want to see the movie (PBS documentary)!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book! But needs to be updated!!!
This book is no doubt a great book, and the most comprehensive history of the oil industry. I hope the author updates the book every 25 years or so because once again this... Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, important, exquisitely informative, and loooong.
You should get a PhD in Hydrocarbononics (not a real word) for reading this book. Everything you could possibly want to know about Oil; its physical origins, the technologies that... Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by Christian Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics, history and economics of the oil industry, refined
The engines of the modern world run on hydrocarbons, and especially on oil & gas. and The Prize is an excellent, accessible history of the oil & gas industry, the impact it has... Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by Michael Sandman
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely changed my understanding of recent history
I am on my second pass at this book. I read it about five years ago, but due to recent world events and oil shocks, I decided to read it again. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2003 by david
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch
This book is a complete and thorough history of the most important natural resource. Its reach is unequalled. Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2003 by Douglas Cotton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, masterful, inspiring...
I decided to pick up this book because I wanted to know how influential oil was as a factor in international politics. Read more
Published on June 8 2003 by "Hungry Wolf Chops
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