In This Review

The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the Twentieth Century
The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the Twentieth Century
By Giuliano Garavini
Oxford University Press, 2019, 448 pp

Garavini’s rich history starts with the emergence of petroleum-producing countries in the 1920s and covers the establishment of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in the 1960s, the oil shocks of the 1970s, and OPEC’s declining ability to control prices in the 1980s and 1990s. Garavini, a diplomatic historian, focuses on the interaction of so-called petrostates with the U.S. government, with their oil companies, and with one another. He details OPEC’s internal machinations using the minutes of the organization’s conferences, a primary source not available to previous investigators. Although Garavini’s account ends at the turn of the twenty-first century, many of the themes he sounds are strikingly contemporary: tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, dysfunction in Venezuela, and the need for oil-producing and oil-consuming countries to think about the coming transition to a global economy that no longer relies on fossil fuels.