Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll - review by D D Guttenplan

D D Guttenplan

Oil & Trouble

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power


Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 685pp £25 order from our bookshop

Back in the days when the Lone Star Cafe – which despite its Frenchified name was actually a transplanted Texas road house – adorned the corner of 13th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, a huge motto, emblazoned just below the giant iguana that squatted on the roof, proclaimed ‘Too Much Ain’t Enough’. Which fairly sums up this reader’s response to Steve Coll’s anatomy of the oil giant ExxonMobil.

Too much is clearly not enough for ExxonMobil. Even before it merged with Mobil in 1999, Exxon was already the third-largest US corporation and, in most of the years since it had been spun off from John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly in 1911, among the two or three most

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