Synopses & Reviews
Ken Silverstein is a fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He was a 2010-2012 Open Society Fellow. He served as Washington editor of Harper's magazine from 2006 to 2010. Previously on the staff of the Los Angeles Times, Silverstein has also written for Mother Jones, Wallpaper, Washington Monthly, the Nation, Slate, Salon, and many other publications. In 2005, he received the Overseas Press Club Award for a series, co-written with T. Christian Miller, titled "The Politics of Petroleum" and published in the Los Angeles Times.
"Corrupt dictators with a penchant for boiling their adversaries, shady fixers who know just the right palms to grease, unctuous lobbyists in smoke-filled rooms the global market for oil is not known for its cleanliness, political or environmental. Silverstein, a former editor at Harper's, collects a number of his previously published profiles of the colorful characters inhabiting this ecosystem. Lightweight and entertaining, these sketches are suitably salacious, but, for the most part, expose relatively little about oil per se. Teodorin Nguema Obiang, son of the ruler of Equatorial Guinea, loves his cars, and 'when he saw gawkers stop to admire' his two-million dollar Bugatti at a nightclub, he sent his chauffeur 'back to Malibu by cab so could drive back his second Bugatti to park next to it,' but his graft is actually confined to selling off his country's rainforest; slightly less ostentatious relatives control the oil. Bretton Sciaroni, a legal hack fired by the Reagan administration for his unseemly defense of unlimited executive authority, went on to work for the junta in El Salvador and Hun Sen in Cambodia, but this has nothing to do with oil. Silverstein's muckraking will appeal to progressive interests, but oil itself does not tie this motley collection together." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.