British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement--The West’s Secret Pact to Get Mideast Oil. Edwin Black. 277 pages. 2011.
Bestselling historian author and investigative journalist Edwin Black appears in three broadcasts on Book-TV on January 22 and 23. He will speak on his book British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement—The West’s Secret Pact to Get Mideast Oil. His main themes will be the fraud, deception, and decades of war machinations of the company now known as BP, and how it shaped the Mideast as we now know it and helped addict the world to oil. See video here.
His dynamic presentations were made before an international audience assembled at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington D.C. sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement is only the latest of his several volumes on the geopolitics and diplomatic machinations that led to the carving up of the Mideast the creation of oil states following the fall of the Ottoman Empire nearly one hundred years ago-- and eventually to the two costly wars the United States fought in Iraq. Black is said to be the man who coined the term "petropolitics."
Some of his other widely-cited books on the topic, which have been well received by historians and analysts, are The Farhud, Banking on Baghdad, The Plan and Internal Combustion. These cover the intricate and deadly connections between backroom dealings by global powers such as British Petroleum and General Motors, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, as well as and their interlaced relationship with America’s wars and oil addiction. Black is best known for his prize-winning volume, IBM and the Holocaust.
British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement has brought Black accolades from analysts who watch the Mideast and the current devolution of decades-old oil-sponsored dictatorships in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, and the possible rise of Islamist regimes. His work provides historical context to the troubles of the so-called Arab Spring that have led to the fall of Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.
In "Redline," Black again brings to the table his considerable gifts for research and the excavation of a complex nexus of relationships that sustains America’s and the world’s petroleum addiction. British Petroleum has long been nurtured by the wars in what is now Iraq. The 2010 oil platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico brought to light for Americans its tangled web of deceit. The book now adds the back story of shady diplomacy, petropoliticized wars, and realpolitik that made British Petroleum and created the modern Middle East.
Critical acclaim for his petropolitical investigations has been voiced by former National Counterterrorism Director Richard A. Clarke in the Washington Post Book World, when he reviewed the research underpinning the book. Clarke wrote, “Black's impressive analysis, which included looking at more than 50,000 original documents and hundreds of scholarly books and articles ... explains why the West's record in the region so complicates nation-building there today.”
Marc Rauch of The Auto Channel declared, "Petroleum and oil exploration should be one of entrepreneurial glory. Instead, the more we learn about the corruption and machinations employed by British Petroleum and its industry cohorts, the more we realize that we have been the victims of an addictive, war-made subjugation for over 100 years. This realization comes to us thanks to Edwin Black's book."
Energy Publisher wrote, "In British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement, Black again brings to the table his considerable gifts for research and the teasing-out of a complex nexus of relationships that sustains America’s and the world’s petroleum addiction. British Petroleum has long been nurtured by the wars in what is now Iraq. The oil platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico brought to light for Americans its tangled web of deceit, shady diplomacy, and realpolitik."
Richard Pachter of The Miami Herald lauded the research in these words: "Edwin Black’s powerful new study … is solid and evocative throughout. For those interested in business history, his study of the relationship between commercial and political interests, especially the company that eventually became British Petroleum, is well worth the price of admission. There’s also ample material to draw from to consider the future path of Iraq ... Black is committed, if not obsessed, with hyper-intensive research and documentation. His books are copiously footnoted and referenced. Given the seriousness and scope of the subjects, this is an absolute necessity."
Adam Daifallah of The Montreal Gazette similarly praised the research, writing, "What a fascinating history ... Black tries to show that the reason so much attention has been paid to Iraq, especially in the modern era, is its oil. He does so fairly convincingly." Writing in Middle East Quarterly, Patrick Clawson commented, "The author has a wonderful ability to turn historical events, obscure to most Western readers, into a gripping story ... The standard of scholarship is excellent."
On C-SPAN's Book TV, Black’s lectures will air on Sunday, January 22 at 7:15 am, and on Monday, January 23 at 1:45 am. Each lecture lasts approximately 1 hour and 16 minutes. View the lecture here.