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Energy Politics Paperback – February 10, 2011

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Energy Politics is a timely, provocative, and pioneering exploration of an increasingly important topic."—Graham Allison, Harvard University

"An excellent introduction to the international politics of energy."—Charles Doran, Johns Hopkins University

"Brenda Shaffer has produced an essential guide to the energy politics of the twenty-first century. Her insights into the growing role of natural gas, and its implications for global security, are especially valuable."—Michael Ross, UCLA

About the Author

Brenda Shaffer served as Research Director of the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University from 2000 to 2006. She currently teaches political science at the University of Haifa.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (February 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812221664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812221664
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Brenda Shaffer is a specialist on the Caucasus, Caspian energy, and the role of energy in foreign policy. Dr. Shaffer is a faculty member in the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa. She is also a Visiting Professor at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Dr. Shaffer previously served as the Research Director of the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University.

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Format: Hardcover
With the onset of the industrial age, American politics was to become thoroughly entwined with the need for energy resources in the form of petroleum, both domestic and foreign. "Energy Politics" by Brenda Shaffer (Research Director, Caspian Studies Program, Harvard University, 2000 to 2006) draws upon her years of experience, research, and expertise to provide an informed and informed history of how regional, national, and international American politics has been influenced, financed, shaped, and distorted by the producers and consumers of energy. Of special note is the history of developing concerns with respect to climate change, the 'global energy divide', and the rise of a coordinated international policy, and how six of the world's largest producers and consumers of energy (Russia, Eur0ope, the United States, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia) politically interact with one on the necessity for the petroleum that fuels modern society. Enhanced with extensive notes and an accessible index, "Energy Politics" is a work of impressive scholarship and a critically important contribution to professional, governmental, academic, and community library Political Science reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
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Format: Paperback
A sloppy book, carelessly researched and stitched together with little thought to structure, narrative or coherent argumentation. Shaffer makes broad assumptions and sweeping generalisations, selectively employing only those cases and examples that confirm them. She obfuscates the debates and conflates several important distinctions between energy markets/fuels, political structures, and historical contexts. This invariably leads to the impression that any 'insights' drawn about energy security come from an undergraduate-level understanding of politics and energy. She uses no conceptual framework to connect her chapters, making for an aimless and ultimately irrelevant contribution to the literature on energy policy.

Also contains such banal 'findings' as 'energy and politics are inseparable' or 'energy creates an additional link between the domestic and foreign policies of states' (p. 3) without consideration of how these claims might actually be theorised or assembled in an analytically cogent way.

I take particular issue with her chapter on 'energy and regime type', which (at a mere 9 pages) does nothing more than to elaborate how undemocratic oil-exporting states are.

Then there are sloppy mistakes - the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline did NOT cost $3.6 million (p. 53). Shaffer is off by roughly $3.6 billion. Also, the book is riddled with confused statements such as - "just as energy EXPORTERS seek diversity of supplies, natural gas exporters aspire to acquire diversity of export markets" (p. 40, my emphasis).

There is a great deal of overstretch in the scope of the research - empirical chapters cover Russia, Europe, the US, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Given this breadth of analysis undertaken by a single author, it is no wonder that important and highly necessary details and contextual factors are glossed over.
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