How Nixon Courted The Shah
Joan Oleck /

Anyone who’s ever driven down an American highway, idled in America’s city streets surrounded by gas-guzzling SUVs, or shivered in the Arctic-cold air conditioning of a US office building, knows the truth: the United States has an insatiable thirst for oil.

Certainly Iran’s shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, understood that need, and for eight years, 1969 to 1977, exploited it, negotiating a series of secret oil-for-arms deals with America’s best and brightest.

The effect was to leave the United States pleading for lower oil prices – and its own economic survival – at the hands of arch rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The Oil Kings: How the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East looks closely at those deals. 

recommended by Darius Kadivar