BOOKS: Spanking the Sisters

Who is to blame for the world's soaring petroleum prices? The vast majority of consumers and experts alike would readily answer: OPEC. During the past four years, the eleven-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has more than quintupled oil prices, raising the present tag to about $13 a barrel.

Now a distinguished U.S. oil economist has challenged that assumption. In an impressively documented book titled The Control of Oil, just published by Pantheon Books, Dr. John M. Blair argues that the real culprits are the major international oil companies, known familiarly as the Seven Sisters (Exxon, Mobil, Standard Oil Co....

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