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Burning Up the World

Luke Mitchell: ExxonMobil, 8 November 2012

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power 
by Steve Coll.
Allen Lane, 704 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 1 84614 659 6
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... employees in nearly two hundred countries, remains our ‘pre-eminent trust’, but – as Steve Coll argues in his fine bookend to Tarbell’s masterpiece – it has also become something more. Coll picks up the story in 1989 with the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, which dumped 240,000 barrels of crude oil into the ...

Sons and Heirs

Robert Vitalis: The bin Ladens and Their Money, 4 December 2008

The Bin Ladens: The Story of a Family and Its Fortune 
by Steve Coll.
Allen Lane, 671 pp., £25, April 2008, 978 1 84614 124 9
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... Steve Coll’s book tells two stories: a big one about how the bin Laden family cashed in on the oil bonanza in Saudi Arabia, and a smaller one about Osama’s role in the family business before he turned to holy warfare. Although well written, lucid and packed with useful detail, The Bin Ladens doesn’t establish much of a connection between the family firm in Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden’s jihad in Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and America, except that oil wealth funded both ...

Abolish the CIA!

Chalmers Johnson: ‘A classic study of blowback’, 21 October 2004

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001 
by Steve Coll.
Penguin, 695 pp., $29.95, June 2004, 1 59420 007 6
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... Union, which involved the recruitment and training of militants from all over the Islamic world. Steve Coll’s book is a classic study of blowback and is a better, fuller reconstruction of this history than the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the so-called ‘9/11 Commission Report’).* From 1989 to ...

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