For over two decades, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani was one of the most famous, most recognizable and most powerful men on earth. As the petroleum minister for Saudi Arabia and the leading force behind OPEC, he was the biggest player in the world's biggest business - oil.
His is a story of ultimate political power, of the Middle East, of the "oil weapon" and the embargoes, of a brilliant young Saudi lawyer who emerged from the desert sands to walk comfortably through the halls of power in Washington DC, in London, in Paris, and throughout much of the rest of the world.
It is also the story of a man who, in 1975, faced sudden death not once but twice. His mentor and lifelong support, the legendary King Faisal, was shot dead at his feet; and nine months later Yamani himself was kidnapped by the terrorist who was known as, "Carlos the Jackal," only narrowly escaping with his life.
Co-starring Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher, Yassir Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Colonel Qaddafi, Jimmy Carter, the CIA, the Shah of Iran, Ronald Reagan and Nat King Cole, this is the up close and personal story of a man who strode across the world's stage a superstar in the media, was heralded as "the best friend the West had in the Middle East," and yet became the face of the oil embargoes that threatened to cripple Western economies.
A brilliant and enormously charming man who could move markets with a few simple words, Sheikh Yamani earned the respect of political leaders in the West while suffering the jealousy of kings and princes back home. His sudden and abrupt firing in October 1986 made front page headlines throughout the world.
Written in 1988 with the unprecedented cooperation of Sheikh Yamani - meeting with him regularly over the course of a year in five countries - plus hundreds of interviews with the people who knew him best, Jeffrey Robinson's gripping and intimate account opens a door to the very heart of one of the world's most controversial and fascinating statesmen.
Heralded in the West as "the best book ever written about the oil business," and banned in Saudi Arabia when it was first published, this #1 international bestseller is now, finally, available as an eBook for the first time.
*** "A sizzler" - Today
*** "Bestselling writer Jeffrey Robinson has taken the lid off Yamani's life" - Sunday Express
*** "Rich in entertaining anecdote" - Financial Times
*** "Superb" - The Sunday Times
*** "Robinson provides the reader with a portrait of a man who, while claiming he was nothing more than a simple Bedouin, became a deft politician and media personality indelibly associated in the public mind with the rise in OPEC economic power and Saudi Arabia's leading position in global oil production" - Washington Report
*** "In crisp, straightforward sentences, Robinson describes how Ahmed Zaki Yamani's close relationship with King Faisal, and his own urbane intelligence, made him the dominant industry figure worldwide" - Publishers Weekly
*** "Yamani emerges from the book as a man of intelligence and charm, deeply devoted to his family and his Muslim faith, who rose from a Mecca boyhood to become a jet-setting world figure and custodian of one-third of the non-communist world's oil" - Houston Post
*** "Riveting, fast paced" - Globe and Mail
*** "Robinson weaves a fascinating tale" - San Francisco Chronicle
*** "A colorful, well rounded biography." - Philadelphia Inquirer
*** "Oil gagsters were referring to the hot book as "the OPEC version of the Andy Warhol Diaries" - Liz Smith
*** "A Fascinating portrait of this master politician" - Wall Street Journal
This biography of Saudi Arabia's Western-educated petroleum minister during 25 years of oil-industry boom and bust clarifies some mysteries of recent history. In crisp, straightforward sentences (``With their commercial interests on the line the four Aramco partners . . . started to sweat.''), Robinson ( The Minus Millionaires ) describes how Ahmed Zaki Yamani's close relationship with King Faisal, and his own urbane intelligence, made him the dominant industry figure worldwide as the oil business weathered Arab-Israeli wars, Iran's revolution and the gaspump-panic shortages and ensuing oil-glut market collapse brought on by OPEC, the producing nations' fractious pricing cartel. Faisal's assassination in Yamani's presence in 1975, and the subsequent kidnapping of the oil minister by terrorists 11 years later, add high drama to a saga that ends with Yamani's dismissal.