The Scramble for Africa's Oil
By John Ghazvinian
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151011384, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
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Although Africa has long been known to be rich in oil, extracting it hadn’t seemed worth the effort and risk until recently. But with the price of Middle Eastern crude oil skyrocketing and advancing technology making reserves easier to tap, the region has become the scene of a competition between major powers that recalls the nineteenth-century scramble for colonization there. Already the United States imports more of its oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia, and China, too, looks to the continent for its energy security.What does this giddy new oil boom meanfor America, for the world, for Africans themselves? To find out, John Ghazvinian traveled through twelve African countriesfrom Sudan to Congo to Angolatalking to warlords, industry executives, bandits, activists, priests, missionaries, oil-rig workers, scientists, and ordinary people whose lives have been transformednot necessarily for the betterby the riches beneath their feet. The result is a high-octane narrative that reveals the challenges, obstacles, reasons for despair, and reasons for hope emerging from the world’s newest energy hot spot.
JOHN GHAZVINIAN has a doctorate in history from Oxford. He has written for Newsweek, the Nation, Time Out New York, and other publications. Born in Iran and raised in London and Los Angeles, he currently lives in Philadelphia, where he teaches in the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
" ... [a] deftly reported book ... "
"Ghazvinian, who has a doctorate in history from Oxford, a sure hand with economic theory, and a journalist''s touch for capturing the telling detail, delivers an account that would be wildly entertaining if the story he was telling wasn''t so full of heartbreaking poverty, venality, corruption and violence."
"Untapped is John Ghazvinian''s riveting account and superb analysis of what African oil means to a fuel-hungry world and to the African nations involved."
"Like the cars that might one day make the Western world a bit less reliant on crude oil, Untapped is a hybrid; part travelogue, part analysis and part lament. It is also well timed."