MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS: Mirage: Power, Politics, and the Hidden History of Arabian Oil

By Peterson, J. E. | The Middle East Journal, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS: Mirage: Power, Politics, and the Hidden History of Arabian Oil


Peterson, J. E., The Middle East Journal


Mirage: Power, Politics, and the Hidden History of Arabian Oil, by Aileen Keating. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005.510 pages. Gloss, to p. 513. Who's Who to p. 531. Bibl. to p. 540. Index to p. 560. $28.

Despite the ambitious subtitle, this lengthy volume is essentially a revisionist history of the scheming for the classic oil concessions in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. In particular, the author is indefatigable in her efforts to rehabilitate the reputation of the book's hero, Frank Holmes, whose name frequently is coupled with "Abu al Naft - Father of oil, as the Arabs called him."

Holmes was a mining engineer who had worked in the gold, silver, and coal mines of South Africa, Australia, China, Mexico, and Russia before turning his attention to the possibility of Arabian oil following his service with British forces during World War I. He secured the first oil concessions in Bahrain, Kuwait, and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia in the 1920s against the weighty resistance of the Anglo-Persian oil Company and the Government of India. Holmes was convinced that oil existed in these areas despite the prevailing views of geologists. He was right but, in the end, the concessions were transferred to and subsequently developed by major American companies ARAMCO and the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), as well as a consortium of British and American firms in the Kuwait oil Company. Holmes was relegated to a footnote in oil history.

In her introduction and opening chapters, Keating portrays the reactionary hold of an expiring Government of India on the Gulf, and behind it, a British imperialism determined to deny others access to oil-bearing territory. In counterpoint to Holmes, the rest of the voluminous cast of characters governments, companies, officials, and executives alike - are seen as duplicitous and double-dealing when not just pompous and naive. Among the "bad guys" are Percy Cox, Arnold Wilson, Harold Dickson, St. John Philby, Karl Twitchell, and Hajji 'Abdullah Williamson. The author writes sympathetically of Shaykh Ahmad of Kuwait and Shaykhs 'Isa and Hamad of Bahrain, although not without a touch of the "noble Arab," while King 'Abd al-'Aziz of Saudi Arabia remains something of an enigma to her.

This is not really an academic book, though it contains many of the trappings. Instead, the book is written as a flowing narrative with the chapters unfolding in strict chronological order and broken up by frequent subheadings intended to carry the plot forward. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

MODERN HISTORY AND POLITICS: Mirage: Power, Politics, and the Hidden History of Arabian Oil
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.