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Private Empire


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About the Author

Steve Coll is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Bin Ladens. He is president of the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C., and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He won a Pulitzer prize for explanatory journalism while working at the Washingon Post. He is the author of six other books, including the bestseller Ghost Wars, which won him a second Pulitzer prize. He lives in Washington and New York.


Magisterial ... a revealing history of our time, a chronicle of the intersection between energy and politics -- Bill McKibben * New York Review of Books *
Meticulously researched and elegantly written, it is likely to be the definitive work on its subject for many years to come. Steve Coll ... is honest about Exxon's strengths as well as its flaws, and presents both sides of the arguments with scrupulous even-handedness ... At every stop there are vivid anecdotes, sharp insights and telling details -- Ed Crooks * Financial Times *
Masterful ... Coll's in-depth reporting, buttressed by his anecdotal prose, make Private Empire a must-read ... [His] portrait of ExxonMobil is both riveting and appalling... Yet Private Empire is not so much an indictment as a fascinating look into American business and politics * San Francisco Chronicle *
Meticulous, multi-angled and valuable ... Coll's prose sweeps the earth like an Imax camera -- Dwight Garner * New York Times *
A thorough, sobering study of the pernicious consolidation of Big Oil ... jaw-dropping reading * Kirkus Reviews *

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Coll (Ghost Wars) combines a corporate history of the world's biggest energy company with a survey of energy geopolitics. He begins with the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, suggesting that the ongoing public criticism it generated fostered a corporate culture that is conservative, defensive, highly disciplined, and focused on cost and efficiency. While Coll covers corporate leadership and the Mobil and XTO mergers, he concentrates on the company's relentless pursuit of replacement oil reserves, its tactics to mitigate threats from environmentalism and alternative fuels, and its attempts to influence government policy. He follows the company's maneuvers in politically unstable parts of the world such as Africa and Indonesia and shows how it has coped with nationalism in Russia and Venezuela. He closes with BP's Deepwater Horizon debacle and a summary of where the United States stands today with regard to the environmental and economic costs of fossil fuel dependency. VERDICT In a very long work, Coll manages to keep his text clear, informative, and at times riveting. Highly recommended for students of the energy economy as well as for motivated general readers. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/11.]-Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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