President Gerald Ford hosted the Shah of Iran at the White House in May 1975


How the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance
of Power in the Middle East


Andrew Scott Cooper tells the story of how oil came to dominate US domestic and foreign policy. Drawing on newly declassified documents and interviews with some of the key figures of the time, he follows the political posturing and backroom maneuvering that led the US to switch to OPEC as its main supplier of oil from the Shah of Iran, a loyal ally and leading customer for American weapons.

The subsequent loss of oil income destabilized the Iranian economy, while the US embarked on a long relationship with the autocratic Saudi kingdom that continues to this day. Brilliantly reported and filled with astonishing revelations––including how close the US came to sending troops into the Persian Gulf to break the Arab oil embargo and how US officials offered to sell nuclear power and fuel to the Shah––The Oil Kings is the history of an era we thought we knew, an era whose momentous reverberations still influence events at home and abroad today.