“Indeed, there is an extensive academic research literature about the links between oil and conflict or natural resources and conflict, and some of it is insightful. Mr. Maass doesn’t share any of this substantive analysis with us (actually, in 276 pages, he does offer one paragraph on Paul Collier’s giant study on 160 countries). He prefers his own personal observations to this large body of work.
Ok, I get it — maybe the rest of you wouldn’t buy his book if he quoted University of California at Los Angeles research. You’d rather read how President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea was accused of allegedly overseeing the torture and murder of inmates at Black Beach prison, prior to the previous EG leader Francisco Macias being overthrown from power in 1979. Forget that the mass killing by Macias took place before anyone found oil in the country.
But it’s not those inconsistencies that really bother her about the book. It’s the lack of solutions Maass offers.
Robert Rapier at The Oil Drum had a much more favorable review, The New York Times called it “slender but powerfully written”, while the Washington Post both offers praise but echoes Jaffe’s criticism that “his conclusion fails to provide any convincing solutions.”