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A Swamp Full of Dollars: Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigeria's Oil Frontier
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A Swamp Full of Dollars: Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigeria's Oil Frontier

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  9 reviews
A gripping account of how the 50-year life of Nigeria has been shaped by the crude oil that flows from its Niger Delta, this chronicle is peopled with a cast of characters that is stranger than fiction--from the Area Boy gangsters of Lagos and the anti-imperialist militants in their swamp forest hideouts to the oil company executives in their office suites and a corrupt st ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Chicago Review Press (first published 2009)
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The descriptions of Nigeria's turmoil and the west's role in it are pretty good but this guy's view on development and "progress" is too mainstream for me. He seems to think that the existence of the oil industry isn't a problem, just the corruption within it. He also seems to think the current economic model can continue functioning if everyone rejected materialism. I don't remember any mention of peak oil and global warming is mentioned only one time that I can recall. I also find it annoying ...more
Hans de Zwart
This is an at times haunting account of Nigeria and its oil-rich Niger delta. Peel goes deep into the delta to meet the militants, he describes Lagos and its vibrant chaos, he visits Shell at its London offices and looks at what the local government is spending its money on. I thought it was an honest book which doesn't attempt to simplify matters. His analytic and emotional conclusion in the epilogue really spoke to me: "In the years since my first involvement with Nigeria, I realized I had com ...more
Matthew Griffiths
Enthralling tale of the impact that oil has had on the development of Nigeria since independence. I particularly enjoyed the way that author used his own experiences whilst living in Nigeria to hammer home the points that he was making about the wider issues and themes that the book discusses, a tactic that many use yet few pull off successfully.

This book would be useful to those reading it for a variety of reasons, whether hoping to gain an insight into the Delta Insurgency movement or looking
Michael Peel is a journalist who spent 8 years in or connecting with Nigeria as correspondent for the Financial Times. His prose is readable and compelling, and his commentary damning of both Nigerian and Western behaviours. He makes an effort to highlight the complexities and legacies that contribute to the hideous state of the Niger Delta. It is a place of utter poverty and despair, yet its people maintain an optimism in the future through a finely honed skill of survival that makes one feel h ...more
Dan Parrott
Meh. Well written, but the writer appears to spend too much time touting his own hypothesis (Western oil and the West in general is responsible for Nigeria's problems). In my opinion, the book wasn't as balanced as it could have been, and it ended up just feeling like an agenda push. Still well written, with interesting-as-always Nigerian characters. It's good if you have an interest in Africa/Nigeria, but that's about it.
Employing the classic combination of the investigative journalist's personal anecdotes alongside more conventional historical narratives, former Financial Times Nigeria correspondent Michael Peel paints a vivid portrait of petropolitics and graft in Nigeria. Refreshingly for a writer tied to a business broadsheet, he also links Nigeria's well-documented troubles to First World lifestyles, greed, and tolerance of inequality.

Standout sections: Chapters 4 and 5 deal with the peculiar world of Lagos
Joseph Mckenna
A straightforward journalistic effort about the delta area of Nigeria, it is easy to read and provides of small snapshot of some of the forces at work in this area. Worth a quick read if you want to get your feet wet in trying to understand an area that sends a million barrels of light crude to the US per day. The author also touches on the level of graft in corruption that permeates the entire culture and, appropriately, calls into question whether democratically elected leaders perform any bet ...more
George Kobani
Nice read I wish I had read it when it first came out in 2009. I liek Michael's writing style. Very crisp informative and humorous.
Great overview of Nigerian problems and mind-set.
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