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Over a Barrel: The Costs of U.S. Foreign Oil Dependence (Stanford Law Books) Hardcover – October 18, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Stanford Law Books
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Law and Politics; 1ST edition (October 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804754993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804754996
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,023,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most in the U.S. would agree that American dependence on foreign oil, especially from countries hostile to the U.S. government, is an undesirable situation. Duffield (Power Rules: The Evolution of NATO's Conventional Force Posture), a political science professor at Georgia State University, focuses on documenting the problems with this dependence and how to fix them. Making the obvious but often overlooked point that depending on imported oil carries more than economic consequences at the gas pump and the home furnace, Duffield notes the costs to American consumers, such as skyrocketing heating bills from government foreign policy and military efforts to protect unreliable overseas supplies. So far, those policy responses have increased rather than decreased costs. For example, policy makers have neglected opportunities to reduce oil use, instead favoring protection of existing international sources (especially in Saudi Arabia) and finding new ones. Although Duffield is dubious about American intervention overseas, he does endorse American hegemony as a route to changing oil-related attitudes and policies worldwide. (Nov.)
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Review

"Making the obvious but often overlooked point that depending on imported oil carries more than economic consequences at the gas pump and the home furnace, Duffield notes the costs to American consumers, such as skyrocketing heating bills from government foreign policy and military efforts to protect unreliable overseas supplies. So far, those policy responses have increased rather than decreased costs. ...Although Duffield is dubious about American intervention overseas, he does endorse American hegemony as a route to changing oil-related attitudes and policies worldwide."—Publishers Weekly


"Duffield's outstanding book lays out the comprehensive costs of U.S. oil dependence. He shows very effectively that these costs are far higher than we believe. This should be 'must reading' for academics, students, and policymakers concerned about America's future." —Dr. Steve A. Yetiv, Old Dominion University


"John Duffield is at once an excellent political scientist, experienced observer of American foreign affairs, clear and crisp writer, and pragmatic policy analyst. His study on the costs of our foreign oil addiction is an excellent guide to those wishing to understand this critical challenge for our planet's environmental sustainability and our nation's economy and security."—Michael E. O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution


"Now here is a well-timed book! And a very rewarding one. John Duffield's analysis of American dependence on foreign oil arrives amidst steep global oil prices and staggering American oil imports, conditions likely to persist and to provoke rising controversy...It will be of great benefit to specialists on international politics, students, and general readers." —Political Science Quarterly

More About the Author

John S. Duffield is professor of political science at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he teaches courses on international politics and energy policy.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey R. Stockwell on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was in a political science class when I first heard of the proposition that people go to war over oil. I thought, you don't risk your life for oil --- people go to war to keep from being killed. This analysis of the economic and political aspects of oil use reveals the truth. Having a car comes with costs and consequences that are far reaching. The number one lesson from this story is that we are unnecessarily exposing ourselves and others to war and killing. Advocating for legislation that brings better gas mileage, alternative fuels, and mass transit is a moral must. The book's graphs display the nature and growth of our oil use, the tables sum up the costs of storing oil and protecting it, and the last chapter charts the way out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dennis DeWilde on March 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If gasoline pump prices approaching $4 per gallon are not enough to convince Americans that U.S. energy policies have been (are currently) ineffective, perhaps reading this book will help us better appreciate the effects of importing over 12 million barrels per day of oil. By expanding his analysis beyond the direct economic costs (wealth transfer abroad, reduction in GDP), to include the policy implications (foreign and military, as well as, domestic economic policies), Political Science Professor Duffield makes the case that the U.S. may well be better served by foreign and military policy decisions to "de-securitize" oil, while implementing domestic policies to reduce the oil intensity of the economy.

The Professor's analysis goes something like this: Oil is a fungible commodity with its price set on world markets. The U.S. is by far the world's largest oil consumer with the most "oil intense" economy - its transportation sector being the most demanding. Oil Imports are a direct wealth transfer, primarily to the Persian Gulf region. Domestic economic policies rely primarily on 'market forces', with a strategic petroleum reserve maintained to mitigate future oil shocks. Foreign policy with its overall goal to make sure that oil will be reliably available, and the supporting U.S. military responses have both direct and indirect costs, not the least of which is the creation of political instability and the empowering of actors hostile to the U.S. In summary the burden of these policies threaten the very economy they report to support; and a total rethink is required.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Growing up I vaguely remember having an unlit Christmas during the first oil embargo. My memory works a little better regarding the late `70s gas lines and trying to feed my '77 Trans-Am at $1 / gal. Ahh, those were the days...

So history once again repeats itself - we live in a time of expensive fuel and lots of gas guzzling vehicles. And like those salad days in the Era of Disco, we find ourselves floating in a sea of complaints, shrill demands for action, and many snake-oil solutions.

Into this murky body steps Dr. Duffield. To his credit, he presents an appropriately comprehensive statement of the current situation and recent history. The section in Chapter 5 about our dealings with the shah of Iran I found particularly enlightening. Not that it was much different from how we now deal with Saudi Arabia, but I think most of us living at the time believed our support for the shah had more to do with fighting the Cold War than keeping the oil cheap and flowing.

He is also quick to say that his book possesses neither a deep economic analysis nor a complete solution space, so those who expect a comparison table of optimal vs. actual outcomes or a neat list of possible alternatives should look elsewhere. In hindsight, it's not reasonable to expect prescription from a descriptive field such as political science.

And though it's unfair to criticize a book for lacking qualities it never aspired to having, I would have liked more imagination in addressing possible solutions. The ones presented by Dr. Duffield sound suspiciously like those parroted by our presidential candidates. I presume they got their ideas from Dr. Duffield.
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Format: Hardcover
This ambitious, scholarly book, complete with statistics and charts on all things oil, undertakes the difficult task of measuring the price of U.S. dependence on this energy source. A comprehensive political and military history, it explains the geopolitics behind U.S. energy policy and analyzes its intended and unintended consequences, especially during today's period of scarce energy. Duffield proposes solutions to the strategic problems U.S. policy creates, even though some of his suggestions are not quantifiable or easily achieved. getAbstract recommends this book to energy and utility company executives, government officials and other serious readers who want to understand the numbers and history behind this international dilemma.
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By stacy hall on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a reference while writing a speech on foreign oil dependency for one of my classes. The book was very informative and had a lot of quotable facts! Very good book to own!
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