Who Won the Oil Wars?

The influence of oil on the archaeology of the 20th century.

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Since oil displaced coal as the fuel of choice, it has sparked off a century of the bloodiest conflicts. This book shows how governments and multinationals have sought to secure their supplies, provoking accusations of promoting conflict and supporting corrupt regimes.

Oil was a crucial factor in both World Wars. Theorists say it fuelled: the Suez Crisis, Iran-Iraq, Biafra, and conflicts in Angola and Chad. The book opens with Empire at the start of the 20th century when Britain, Germany, and France sought to carve up all supplies of “black gold.” The clamour intensified during World War II—the bombing of Pearl Harbor allegedly, in part, to prevent Indonesian oil from reaching the United States.

It charts the rise of OPEC and the Cold War ‘Proxy Wars’, when the importance of the Middle East drew the United States and the Soviet Union into conflicts in the region. It also assesses the role of oil companies—from the huge environmental devastation to local conflicts. The French company Elf is said to have funded both sides in the wars in Angola and the Congo. The book closes with a look at oil in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. How will large-scale oil extraction affect these regions?

Author biography

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Andy Stern
Collins & Brown
Publication date
198mm × 129mm
256 pages
80,000 words
Rights sold
Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States