Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781780238104 Published October 2017 For sale in North and South America only

Empires and Anarchies

A History of Oil in the Middle East

Michael Quentin Morton

Empires and Anarchies

Michael Quentin Morton

Distributed for Reaktion Books

256 pages | 57 halftones | 6 x 9
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781780238104 Published October 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Oil lies at the heart of the modern history of the Middle East. For decades, the world’s largest oil reserves have enriched the region’s nations. But oil wealth has not brought with it universal prosperity. It has, though, transformed the Middle Eastern people and societies—enriching empires and engendering anarchies.

Empires and Anarchies is an unconventional history of oil in the Middle East. In Michael Quentin Morton’s account the burnt-out remains of Saddam Hussein’s armaments and the human tragedy of the Arab Spring are as much of the story as the shimmering skylines of oil-rich nations. From the first explorers trudging through the desert to the excesses of the Peacock Throne and the high stakes of OPEC, Morton lays out the history of oil in compelling detail, arguing that oil simultaneously enriched and fractured the Middle East, eroding traditional ways of life, and eventually contributing to the rise of Islamic radicalism. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in the promises and peril of the world’s oil boom.
Review Quotes
Law Society Gazette
"In this highly readable book, Morton takes us from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, charting the history of oil in the Middle East. . . . This is a complicated area, incorporating a maelstrom of colonial interests and an emergence of US extraterritorial maneuvering, but Morton writes soberly, identifying key figures and making a dense subject accessible to the nonspecialist. The worldwide impact of the oil industry, nascent just over a century ago, and the machinations for its control mean this is a fascinating, disturbing, and concerning story of an industry breeding discontent from the outset."
J. E. Peterson, editor of "The Emergence of the Gulf: Studies in Modern History"
“An excellent, readable introduction to the history and development of oil in the Middle East. Following in the footsteps of Daniel Yergin’s authoritative study, The Prize. It is a complicated story but Morton handles it well with engaging, insightful, and humorous details that bring the broader international, political, and social aspects into high relief.”
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