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The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London
Synopses & Reviews
In a unique journey from the oil fields of the Caspian Sea to the refineries and financial centres of Northern Europe, James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello track the concealed routes along which flows the lifeblood of our economy. The stupendous resource of Azerbaijani crude has long inspired dreams of a world remade. From the revolutionary Futurism of the capital city, Baku, in the 1920s to the unblinking Capitalism of modern London, the drive to control the region’s oil reserves – and hence people and events – has shattered environments and shaped societies.
In The Oil Road, the human scale of village life in the Caucasus Mountains and the plains of Anatolia is suddenly, and sometimes fatally, confronted by the almost ungraspable scale of the oil corporation BP. Pipelines and tanker routes tie the fraying social democracies of Italy, Austria and Germany to the repressive regimes of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. A web of financial and political institutions in London stitches together the lives of metropolis and village.
Building on a decade of study with Platform, Marriott and Minio-Paluello guide us through a previously obscured landscape of energy production and consumption, resistance and profit that has marked Europe for over a century. They blend the empathy of committed travel writing with the precision of investigative journalism in a timely book of compelling urgency.
The human race travels the Oil Road, and this book helps us to realize where we are heading and why it is time to change direction.
A journey along a controversial Central Asian pipeline becomes a profound exploration of the oil economy.
From Caspian drilling rigs and Caucasus mountain villages to Mediterranean fishing communities and European capitals, this is a journey through the heart of our oil-obsessed society. Blending travel writing and investigative journalism, it charts a history of violent confrontation between geopolitics, profit and humanity. From the revolutionary futurism of 1920s Baku to the unblinking capitalism of modern London, this book reveals the relentless drive to control fossil fuels. Harrowing, powerful and insightful, The Oil Road maps the true cost of oil.
Opening in 2006 after ten years in the making, British Petroleum’s $4 billion pipeline, running from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, has become an icon of globalization. Over a thousand miles long, it weaves a route around the Russian and Iranian borders, transporting oil and gas to hungry Western markets.
Bringing to bear a wealth of expertise on their subject, the authors look at the reality behind the pipeline’s gleaming façade. Traveling along its route, they trace the shadowy forces and institutions behind it, meeting whistle-blowers, security forces, local villagers and fishermen; in doing so, they expose a story of cracked coatings, new arms races and displaced local communities. They explore, too, the wider forces the pipeline represents, from state repression, investment banking and energy security, to environmental degradation and social movements. A compelling travelogue, The Oil Road explores the hidden history of an iconic project that is also a metaphor for our age.
About the Author
James Marriott is a part of the award-winning environmental social justice group PLATFORM (platformlondon.org). Artist, writer, activist and PLATFORM co-director, Marriott is the co-author of The Next Gulf: London, Washington and the Oil Conflict in Nigeria. He lives in London.Mika Minio-Paluello is a part of the award-winning environmental social justice group PLATFORM (platformlondon.org). Minio-Paluello is currently leading PLATFORM’s work on banks, oil and climate change. Minio-Paluello lives in London.
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