Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea” as Want to Read:
The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Remote, forbidding, and volatile, the Caspian Sea long tantalized the world with its vast oil reserves. But outsiders, blocked by the closed Soviet system, couldn’t get to it. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and a wholesale rush into the region erupted. Along with oilmen, representatives of the world’s leading nations flocked to the Caspian for a share of the thirty billi ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Random House (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Oil and the Glory, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Oil and the Glory

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 22, 2010 Pbwritr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic book! I will probably only remember about 5 percent of what I read, it is so chock-ful of people, events, negotiations, etc. The subtitle following the book is :The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea. I had no idea until this book that the Caspian Sea was the site of so much oil, riches, scrabbles for power, nor that the U.S. and the USSR were engaged in mutual developments even during the Cold War. Nor did I know that so much of the oil industry there is politiciz ...more
The Caspian Sea is one of the most important oil regions in the world. However very little has been written about it. This book helps change that. Starting with the history of the development of the oil industry there, LeVine goes on to the modern day, detailing the way multinational oil companies came to dominate the region.

There is a major focus on the personalities involved, backed by interviews with nearly everyone written about. At the same time that can be considered the only mark against
Jul 07, 2010 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this author speak a few years ago and have had his book sitting on my shelf since then. The book tackles a really interesting topic ... the attempts that oil companies made over several decades to cultivate relationships with political leaders in the Soviet and, later, former Soviet republics bordering the Caspian Sea. I was really captivated by the author's talk and wasn't disappointed in the book at all and wavered as to whether to give it a three- or four-star rating.

The narrative was s
Ian Taylor
Oct 26, 2008 Ian Taylor rated it really liked it
It's a really comprehensive history of petroleum in the Black Sea region. I thought the first half of the book was more interesting than the second. It's unfortunate the topic was too large to place within a more geopolitical dimension, but this book was thick enough the way it was. I think Levine is a good writer, but he doesn't have a talent with words when writing history. I find that most journalists-turned-authors don't know how to make history come alive like the Barbara Tuchman's or John ...more
Sabrine Faragallah
Nov 19, 2012 Sabrine Faragallah rated it it was amazing
My favorite book in the goal I set for the reading challenge this year. At times Levine's character development was tedious, but overall, the depth of detail for the deals structured in the Caspian fields was very engaging and eventually the character development made the plot very dramatic. Levine adequately covered the breadth of topics associated with deals in a non-market environment: politics, war, class and ethnic conflict, greed, ethics, negotiation, border disputes, terrorism. What was m ...more
Mar 08, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
Exhaustive history of the oil industry in the Caspian region. The author focuses on the period between 1980 and 1995 when the region really opened up to foreign investment. There a lot of players involved over long periods of negotiation , but the author includes a time line to help the reader keep things straight. The lengths to which the companies involved went to close the deals made me realize how large the stakes in oil exploration are.
Feb 27, 2008 Margaret rated it really liked it
Recommended to Margaret by: Chris Wood
Steve Levine does a great job unwinding the complicated history of oil and gas developments in the Caspian Sea region from the mid-19th century to 2007. Oh, the bastards who cleaned up at these ventures. Definitely recommended reading for all Eurasian studies or energy industry geeks. I really enjoy Levine's journalistic writing style.
Jan 05, 2008 Phil rated it it was ok
Good for the information, but it felt like it would never end and that I was reading the same vignette over and over again. Maybe that was the point. The history of the region at the beginning was cool, but the book dwelt paid more attention to and spent longer discussing the Clinton Administration's Central Asian oil policies than the Clinton Administration did.
Nov 12, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it
I learned a ton about the Caspian region and oil. It hit topics I knew nothing about: The Nobel Brothers, a gusher that shot 100 feet high and ran for 3 months, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Jim Giffen and other international "dealmakers", U.S.-Soviet power politics over oil. A bit of a slog, but full of the "wild west" nature of oil exploration.
Mar 31, 2009 Markus rated it it was ok
Interesting book on oil exploration and deal-making in the Caspian Sea region. Also interesting background on a part of the world I don't know much about. The book tends to jump between different stories at times and tends to ramble as well.
Feb 15, 2016 Caroline rated it liked it
A long, but not totally dry, account of all the wheeler-dealers vying for profit and political alliance on one of the world's largest oil fields. It was interesting to read after recent events like the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline and the unrest in Ukraine.
Paulo Jan
May 17, 2014 Paulo Jan rated it it was amazing
I became fascinated with those histories of oil exploration on Caspian , before , during and after Soviet Union. The multiple possibilities of pipelines , the Russias sphere of influence , the negociations. Read this book before any other title of actual geopolitics. ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Spears rated it really liked it
An excellent history of the resources and politics of the area. Having traveled to all the countries except Afghanistan and Pakistan, Levine has done a masterful job of telling the story of oil and gas along with the characters involved.
Nov 24, 2007 Sunlita rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Well, I don't know much about 'oil' or 'mining' things, but.. this book is written in an excellent 'package' that also entertain its readers. I haven't bought it yet, I'll check if I have some extra-money to do it or not. ^^
Nov 01, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it
Tremendous story that connects 100 years of interest in the treasures of the Caspian Sea. Each chapter includes surprises about connections and inter-relationships Could be a Hollywood movie script with ease.
May 28, 2008 Mike rated it really liked it
Interesting story of oil politics around the Caspian Sea and all of the players in the new great game of the region.
Hans Hoffmann
Jan 29, 2016 Hans Hoffmann rated it it was amazing
A great read as Mr Levine has told a facinating story of the rush for Oil in the Caspian Sea. It also tells of the power of the oil indutry and who the key players are.
Jan 07, 2009 Josh rated it really liked it
An interesting book, that taught me a bit about a part of the world I didn't know much about previously.
Apr 17, 2011 Thirsty rated it really liked it
An excellent book retelling the story of the pursuit of energy and fortune in the Caspian region. I learned a lot.
Brianpablo rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2014
Daniela Pandrea
Daniela Pandrea rated it really liked it
Feb 08, 2010
Katrina rated it it was amazing
May 05, 2015
Trent Kososki
Trent Kososki rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2016
Colleen Purcell
Colleen Purcell rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2014
Ryan Mccarrel
Ryan Mccarrel rated it really liked it
May 25, 2014
Thomas rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2012
Ekin Ozbakkaloglu
Ekin Ozbakkaloglu rated it it was amazing
Oct 20, 2016
Laura Beth
Mar 23, 2015 Laura Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Gregg rated it it was amazing
Dec 18, 2011
Mclean27 rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy
  • The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus
  • Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (American Empire Project)
  • The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich
  • The Caucasus: An Introduction
  • Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century
  • The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB
  • Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization
  • Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline
  • The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia
  • Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who'd Stop at Nothing to Win
  • The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
  • American Diplomacy
  • The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World
  • Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy
  • Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia
  • Thicker Than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia
  • Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power

Share This Book