Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta
Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa. Featuring images by world-renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi and text by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, prominent Nigerian journalists, human rights activists, and University of California at Berkeley professor Michael Watts, this book traces the 50-year history of Nigeria’s oil interests and the resulting environmental degradation and community conflicts that have plagued the region. Now one of the major suppliers of U.S. oil, Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of oil in the world. Set against a backdrop of what has been called the scramble for African oil, Curse of the Black Gold is the first book to document the consequences of a half-century of oil exploration and production in one of the world’s foremost centers of biodiversity. This book exposes the reality of oil’s impact and the absence of sustainable development in its wake, providing a compelling pictorial history of one of the world’s great deltaic areas. Accompanied by powerful writing by some of the most prominent public intellectuals and critics in contemporary Nigeria, Kashi’s photographs capture local leaders, armed militants, oil workers, and nameless villagers, all of whose fates are inextricably linked. His exclusive coverage bears witness to the ongoing struggles of local communities, illustrating the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty. The publication of Curse of the Black Gold occurs at a moment of worldwide concern over dependency on petroleum, dubbed by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman as "the resource curse." Much has been written about the drama of the search for oil—Daniel Yergin’s The Prize and Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski’s Shah of Shahs are two of the most widely lauded—but there has been no serious examination of the relations between oil, environment, and community in a particular oil-producing region. Curse of the Black Gold is a landmark work of historic significance.
By expat - June 4, 2008
I just returned from working in Port Harcourt for several months. This is a very graphic book from people who were able to penetrate the heart of the Niger Delta with pictures that very few people would otherwise be able to see.
This is outstanding!
By Victoria Clark - November 19, 2008
Building on my love for Michael Watts, this book is simply phenomenal. Watts and Kashi have gathered some of the best photographs I've seen of the Niger Delta crisis, and assembled them with compelling accounts of the crisis by activists and academics. No doubt, this book will not only encourage you to explore the issue in greater detail but the previous works of both Watts and Kashi as well. Please buy this book! It is an important read, it's extremely moving, and it's a steal at the price.
Amazing and Terrible
By Danielle Shook - March 11, 2012
This book is both informational and filled with amazing photos. Very interesting: it goes beyond surface details, and makes a great coffee table book. If you have humanitarian leanings or care about ecological disasters you will be deeply moved by this book.
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