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Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,141 ratings  ·  87 reviews
“Saudi Arabia is more and more an irrational state—a place that spawns global terrorism even as it succumbs to an ancient and deeply seated isolationism, a kingdom led by a royal family that can’t get out of the way of its own greed. Is this the fulcrum we want the global economy to balance on?”

In his explosive New York Times bestseller, See No Evil, former CIA operative R
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 25th 2004 by Broadway Books (first published March 5th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,938)
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(3.0) Mixture of personal exploits within (and after) the CIA, and lots of info on relationships between US government and Saudi Royal Family...but mostly a rant.

He got pretty ranty in this, and it seemed less than professional. I think it hurts his message. He's not the worst in this regard though (I think No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller takes the cake).

That aside, the bits revealing ties between US industry and government to Saudis; how the Saudi royal family (mis-)runs the stat
Will Byrnes
The focus here is Saudi Arabia, and it is a very chilling account with considerable new information (new to me anyway) providing a basis for a very dark look into the future. It is only a matter of time before the unimaginable thievery of the Al Sa’ud (the Saudi royal family) is crushed by the Wahabbi extremists that the royalty has been buying off for decades. In the author’s opinion, the likelihood is strong that when Islamic fundamentalists control the nation, they will show no mercy in using ...more
As you can guess from the title, neither the US government or the Saudis come out looking good in this. Baer is a former CIA case officer, one of his later books was turned into the movie Syriana, it was very loosely adapted. I heard Baer speak once and he said he didn't even understand the movie. Baer maintains that the Saudis are much more involved in terrorism then they have been letting on and no one in Washington will call them on it because no one wants to upset the flow of cheap oil (the ...more
Now usually I am not a fan of non-fiction but this is a pretty good and easily understood book about the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. It spells out why the political relationship was important and how oil played a big part in the relationship. It also shows how America lost face to it's populace when many of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi. Baer also outs how the US tried to save itself by ruining secret CIA investigations and actually outing agents and putting their lives at ris ...more
Sarah Ewald
Written by a former CIA operative, Baer explains the US-Saudi Arabia relationship that has evolved since the early 1900's. At times it is hard to follow, but it tries to expose the inner workings of the Saudi royal family, and its relationships with fundamentalist Islam groups. In light of on-going Middle East turmoil, it is a very interesting read. Written in 2003, many things have changed with Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and other countries, but it gives a very good background to Washington DC a ...more
Beth F.
Aug 15, 2008 Beth F. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: just about anyone--even people who normally find non-fiction boring
I’m a fiction person so I’ve never read non-fiction because I *wanted* to. If I’m reading non-fiction, it’s because I have to. When I was younger, I read non-fiction because it was part of an assignment for school. Nowadays, I find myself reading for work. We’re encouraged to read one industry-appropriate book per quarter—I usually try to fit one work book a month into my reading schedule. When it comes to reading, I tend to be a bit of an over-achiever. I admit it.

I work in Anti-Money Launderi
I visited Saudi Arabia in 2000 and thought the stories I heard from our host (in a moving car at night where he felt safe from being recorded) were a bit paranoid if not outright fanciful. This book proved that they were slightly understated if anything. I had trouble in 2000 reconciling my (false) impression of endless oil dollars flowing in the streets with the obvious poverty (including numerous street beggars) and general undercurrent of discontent among the citizenry.

This book explains how
Sensationalist and assumably biased, this book explains the US-Saudi relationship from its origins and the need for the US to shore up oil resources post WW2. The premise is that security of supply is a strategic goal that takes precedence over other considerations incl. Islamic fundamentalism and jihad, corruption and bribery on both sides of the relationship and arming a nation which has radical religious beliefs and is unstable at best.

Written two years after 9/11 it is written in a style whi
Simon Ph.D.
Robert Baer's second non-fiction book is another sobering call to the American consumer for rationality. Listen to this: When our unquenchable thirst for oil must be satisfied, Washington goes the extra step to acquire it!

Turning our attention to few well known (outside of the 495-beltway) facts about the American-Saudi Arabian political connection, Mr. Baer explores the consequences of a half-century's stream of money and oil between the two nations and the subsequent product of it- terrorism
Maria Andreu
If you feel like getting righteously irritated at the shenanigans of politicians and the state of our sick symbiosis with Saudi Arabia, this is the book for you.

It's a succinct history of how messed up and untenable the situation in Saudi Arabia really is, from Wahabis, to the royal family two generations removed from the desert nomads from which they are descended, to the staggering corruption which is "business as usual" when dealing with the Saudis, this book makes you want to fill up your ta
The experience of reading this book is a lot like the experience of living in Saudi Arabia as a foreigner—When you first arrive and talk to other ex-pats, the stories seem so sensational and the rhetoric is so clearly biased, you assume it can't possibly be true. You might resolve to keep a clear head and stay above the prejudice, but if you live in the KSA long enough or have bad enough luck, you'll witness some of those almost unbelievable events yourself. Then you'll start thinking about all ...more
A little outdated; after all, oil prices soared last year, and the US economy tanked - but for different reasons. But it's still an interesting and worthwhile read about how the Saudi kleptocracy is our own damn fault, and how they are so not our friends, duh. The first section, in which Baer meticulously follows the money from Saudi Arabia to American oil interests and back again, is somewhat dull (at least to me) and told me nothing I didn't know. But I'm glad I stuck through it to get to the ...more
An eye-opening argument as to how the world's most powerful country, United States, setup its own trap by falling in the same hole it dug for itself. The main culprit: oil. Baer argues that the ousted Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt and other Islamic countries are the main reason for global terrorism. And because the rulers of Saudi Arabia want to maintain their extravagant lifestyle and power, they bowed to the fundamentalists; even provided "hush" money that went to the organizations that were r ...more
Sandra D
There wasn't a whole lot that was news to me in this book, but I knew quite a bit about our money-oil-arms relationship with the Saudis already (don't call me a "low-information voter"!). Most Americans don't, though, and I wish they did, so I'm tempted to rate it higher to encourage more people to read it.

On the other hand, it reads like an extended op-ed and Baer's occasionally sneering tone annoyed me. He was at least an equal-opportunity sneerer -- critical of every administration from Nixon
Kurt Ayau
Jul 22, 2007 Kurt Ayau rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
If you saw the Movie Syriana and were a little confused, this book will explain much of what goes on in the film. Syriana was actually based on a previous book of Baer's (a former CIA agent who specialized in the Middle East). This is a very interesting book given these times in which we find ourselves. This is not a novel, but a nonfiction piece with some speculation in it--such as, what it would take to cripple Saudi oil production. The book lays out the "big picture" for our involement with v ...more
OK so what with the last book I read and this one I'm really beginning to look at foreign policies of western governments differently! :o)
The only reason I say this book was ok is because it was exciting to read as it adopts a very mystery-like-spy-novel tone, which is bound to make it exciting.

This book has some interesting insights on the US-Saudi reltionship but it is not from proven sources. So one can never really know the validity of what the author has stated.

However, this book is also so politically incorrect and racist against the Saudis. I don't want to spoil the ludicrous conclusions reached by this "madman" of an autho
Omar juraifani
Vary informative and good to see how non saudi see Saudi Arabia as country

I don't agree with the author In all what he said !!!
Jul 19, 2010 Sandy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
WOW! This is a must read for anyone who uses gas or oil from the Middle East. Baer is a hero - not just for his years serving the country in the CIA but for his willingness to write about it. We (the US) are so inextricably intwined with the Energy debacle yet we choose to walk around it. We are so much like spoiled kids - we want what we want but just don't force us to understand the realities of what it takes to get what we want. We don't have a democracy... we simply buy what we want, from a ...more
Patrick Ross
I have enjoyed Robert Baer's works and this was no disappointment.
great book. very informative and quite alarming
Too much conspiracy :)
Teri Rowe
I had a hard time keeping straight all the players in this book, especially in the 1st section. The author gives a breakdown of the Saudi family in a diagram. It would help to have the same thing for each group involved. I almost stopped reading, but the book evolved more into a story in the last two sections. The biggest disappointment was that nothing written in this book gave me any more thought over this topic than what's already been covered or assumed in previous publications.
Blair Easton
Aug 19, 2007 Blair Easton rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: curious about middle east
"Syriana" character Clooney is based on the author, Bob Baer. They're both disgruntled with the CIA. The CIA didn't put agents on the ground in key areas of the Middle East and central Asia because of Saudi relationships with elements in these areas. To irritate the Saudis would strain an oil resource and huge defense contracts, i.e. through Boeing. The CIA, therefore, was beholden to oil, and let critical intelligence slip away.
Read along with "Confessions of an Economic Hitman."
An interesting assessment of the relationship between the United States and the Oil producing countries of the middle east. As a former CIA officer, he presents a prescription for Middle Eastern policy that is interesting, and perhap a recipe for diaster.

Assuming his factual account is accurate, he paints a pretty hopeless picture of the extent to which Saudi Oil money has successfully taken over Washington, D.C. across the political and social spectrum.
Incredible back door insight into the business of politics, particularly foreign policy, and the lengths to which our government will extend itself in order to make a buck...Baer, who is a former CIA operative, reveals in this recollection of events how deals were made and relationships forged at the behest of US officials with too much power for personal gain and prominence while this country was being sold piece by piece to the highest bidder...
Brice Meerman
Had to read this for an American History class, and I gotta tell you, I love love LOVE conspiracy books. However, this is a great semi-truthful book (I say semi bc even Robert Baer admits he embellished some). The only draw back was that the flow of this book was hard to get into and keep track of due to it reading, in parts, like an actual history textbook. Other than that, great book. I'll give Baer another chance and maybe read more of his works.
A frightening look at just how dirty politics in Washington actually are and how fragile the economic success and security of the U.S. really is. His analysis that it would take no more than a handful of committed terrorists destroying one refiner in Saudi Arabia to bring economic ruin on the world seems a bit alarmist (and an inviting temptation for some). However, overall, like the other Baer books, Sleeping with the Devil is a gripping read.
I learned that Every Actual State is Corrupt. From the States to Saudi Arabia, corruption surrounding oil and arms sales is rampant. Radical islam is definitely a major issue for the 21st century as is the timeless issue of the boundless greed shown by individuals and governments alike.

Not the most well written book, nor the most like-able author. He comes across as an ass to put it mildly. Still, his points are not lost.
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