PDF Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil

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Its not a new story, but its told in fascinating close-up detail. My main criticism of the book, and its VERY annoying at points, is that the author can be sloppy and there is a lot of innuendo thrown around where he can't actually prove a point. Fancy cars outside the police headquarters in Angola mean, wink wink, that they're stealing the oil revenues they probably are, but its still sloppy ; he juxtaposes the value of a slave cargo leaving Congo Brazzaville years ago with the value of an oil tanker leaving today -- not actually making the analogy which would be grotesque but encouraging the reader to make it; he throws in the non-sequitor fact that Riggs Bank has a Bush cousin on the Board and also launders Obiang's oil money, from which we're supposed to draw some sort of conclusion.

There are a number of counterarguments that could be made to the overall premise of the book the main one being that many countries around the world have managed their natural resource wealth in a way that does not create the horrible effects seen in his book but I accept his main point that oil, in Africa, has generally been more curse than blessing. Its told in this book as a story about oil, and how it produces bad governance, but it could easily be told as a story of bad governance, with a sidebar about oil. Its a shame the book was written in , because if it was written now I suspect there'd be a much big focus on Chinese oil companies, which have become major players in recent years, and that story has not been well and extensively told yet.

Jul 28, Jennyb rated it liked it. I tried and tried, but I just couldn't manage to finish this. Even so, I am giving it three stars because it's informative and well written, but There's far too much detail in here for someone seeking a general overview of the topic -- I'd have needed a degree in contemporary African politics to keep all the places and people straight. I also didn't like the structure of the book, where each chapter is about a person who is somehow tied to or embodies the evil that oil has wrought in a partic I tried and tried, but I just couldn't manage to finish this.

I also didn't like the structure of the book, where each chapter is about a person who is somehow tied to or embodies the evil that oil has wrought in a particular African country.

Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil

And be sure -- there are no happy ending with oil wealth in Africa, unless you happen to be one of the handful of corrupt political elites whose pockets it is lining! Jan 22, Anandh Sundar rated it really liked it. While the solution he proposes may seem idealistic today Alaska type distribution of royalties to each citizen , it may still work in one's lifetime. Quite interestingly written without losing rigour.

Oct 21, Zachary rated it really liked it Shelves: african , politics , sociology , economics. Certainly not an academic text by any means. The author, a journalist, was clearly looking for a storytelling outlet where he could be less than poltically correct. You kind of get the feeling he's not always telling the whole story. Still, the book is an entertaining peek into the world of African oil and governance.

Nicholas Shaxton has the appropriate experience to guide the reader on a journey through this dark world and his writing is fairly solid.


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Jun 18, Judy rated it liked it. This is a more anecdotal overview of the rush for African oil to exploit by outside corporations and countries.

It is an easy-read and a good intro. I am preferring other more academic books on the subject.

Poisoned Wells

May 21, Adrian added it. Shaxson has undeniable cred in the world of African oil. He has a million stories and as many leads on corruption in that world but the names, countries and scandals most of which are complex defeated me. I couldn't keep them separate. Jan 23, Anil added it. Jul 25, David Smith rated it it was amazing.

Poisoned Wells : Nicholas Shaxson :

One of the best I've read in a long time. Jan 17, Sophie MH rated it really liked it Shelves: politics. Amazing read.

Feb 11, Hama rated it liked it. A ggod to book read along with Dead Aid of Dambisa Mayo.


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Readers also enjoyed. About Nicholas Shaxson. Nicholas Shaxson.

Crude Continent: The Struggle for Africa's Oil Prize

Books by Nicholas Shaxson. Trivia About Poisoned Wells: T No trivia or quizzes yet. Illuminating African postcolonial and neo-colonial history through the prism of oil, he reveals the central and dangerous role that Africa's oil states now play, casting the precious fuel as a poison not only for the continent but "to liberty, democracy, and free markets around the globe. In this stark portrait, the paradox of African oil is that, time and again, enormous wealth for a few translates into increasing poverty and political and economic insecurity for the majority.

Shaxson sketches a system largely outside the purview of international law involving the highest levels of French, U. Although he proposes practical legislative steps, Shaxson makes clear that the grievous mix of politics, mafia-style operations and endless oil profits not only subverts democratic reforms, but in places like the Niger Delta gives rise to exactly the kind of conditions that produced September Acquire the Book: The book will be available in bookshops nationwide from July at the retail price of R, NGO Services.

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