Private Empire

Private Empire

ExxonMobil and American Power

Summary

Steve Coll's Private Empire is winner of the FT/GOLDMAN SACHS BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2012. In this prize-winning book, the author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens investigates the notoriously mysterious ExxonMobil Corporation and the secrets of the oil industry

In many of the nations where it operates, ExxonMobil has a greater sway than that of the US embassy, its annual revenues are larger than the total economic activity in most countries and in Washington it spends more on lobbying than any other corporation. Yet despite its outsized influence, it is to outsiders a black box.

Private Empire begins with the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 and closes with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Steve Coll's narrative spans the globe, taking readers to Moscow, impoverished African capitals, Indonesia and elsewhere as ExxonMobil carries out its activities against a backdrop of blackmail threats, kidnapping, civil wars, and high-stakes struggles at the Kremlin. In the US, Coll goes inside ExxonMobil's ruthless Washington lobbying offices and its corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas, where top executives oversee a bizarre corporate culture of discipline and secrecy.

Private Empire is the masterful result of Steve Coll's indefatigable reporting, from the halls of Congress to the oil-laden swamps of the Niger Delta; previously classified U.S. documents; heretofore unexamined court records; and many other sources.

Reviews

  • Magisterial ... a revealing history of our time, a chronicle of the intersection between energy and politics
    Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books

About the author

Steve Coll

Steve Coll is dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. His major books include Private Empire, The Bin Ladens and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars. He is a staff writer on The New Yorker.
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