“This carefully researched book focuses on food security in the Middle East, especially in the Persian Gulf and on the Arabian Peninsula, but it ranges far beyond that subject to delve into the relative impact of oil and food on international trade and the likely effects of climate change on agricultural markets.”

–John Waterbury in Foreign Affairs

“Woertz’s book is carefully and broadly researched. It will appeal to those interested in the
political economies of food in the region as well as to students of the region’s transnational
linkages and pressures.”

— Pete W. Moore in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES)

“The book’s strength is its solid research that combines archival material with on-site visits and interviews. Woertz’s deep knowledge of the region is evident in the discussion of the Gulf States’ overseas investments in agricultural projects.”

–Erika Weinthal in the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research (JNRPR)

“The book provides a fascinating geopolitical history of Gulf food security, including the disruptions to food imports caused by World War II and the way that food imports have been used as a foreign policy tool by the United States and others in their dealings with the region.”

— Jane Harrigan in the Middle East Journal (MEJ)

“What these historical tracks show is a pattern embedded in regional political ecology […] The pattern is Braudelian in its simplicity and recurrence, although also one dependent on the centrality of petroleum production to the contemporary economic system. It is the story which Eckart Woertz sets out to tell in Oil for food, the broadest canvass of regional food issues to emerge in some time.”

— Max Ajl in the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS)

Eckart Woertz places the experience of the Middle East during this food crisis in historical context by examining other periods of decreased access to food, including World War II, the oil and food crises of the 1970s, and periodically with the distribution of US food aid. Food security has important political dimensions, as Woertz shows clearly.

— Bill Winders in Agricultural History

“This book adds to the dearth of food-focused books about the Middle East. It does an excellent job of connecting disparate strains of political and economic policies, organizations, and actions into a coherent narrative.”

— M. Ruth Dike in Graduate Association for Food Studies

“This is a remarkably important book, analyzing one of the most critical issues facing the Persian Gulf Sheikhdoms. Woertz is thorough, detailed, and balanced in his treatment of the problem of food security in the Persian Gulf region and beyond, looking, among other things, at the perils and opportunities of agro-investments abroad, principally in Africa. For anyone interested in better understanding the challenges of food security, both globally and in the Middle East, Oil for Food is a must read.”

–Mehran Kamrava, Georgetown University Qatar

“Woertz’s superb political economy analysis of Middle Eastern agriculture could not be more timely, as the global food crisis of the mid 1970s – brought on partly by high oil prices – seems set for a re-run. The vital relationship between oil and food, and the Middle Easts key role in that relationship, has been all but ignored for a generation. Woertz’s study fills a huge gap in our understanding of a topic that is of paramount importance for this region and for the global economy.”

–Robert Springborg, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School

“Eckart Woertz grapples with the delusions of those who depend on the availability and affordability of food and energy in global systems. He highlights the dangerous assumptions of many sovereign and market players as well as the risks implicit in existing asymmetric global arrangements. His insights are deeply researched and compelling.”

–Tony Allan, King’s College London and SOAS London

“Can the Gulf countries rely on food imports at all times? Food exporters have resorted to export bans when food markets tightened, raising an existential issue for countries as utterly dependent on imports as the GCC members. Eckart Woertz’s is the first thorough investigation of this crucial aspect of Gulf countries’ sustainability; it is mandatory reading for understanding a key concern shaping the GCC’s international relations and investment policy.”

— Giacomo Luciani, Princeton Global Scholar

“This book comes at a time when ideas about achieving food security in the Arab world have become popular again. While the author concludes that the ability to pay for food imports rather than the technology for planting food in the desert is what will continue to make Arab countries food secure, an important contribution of the book is to discuss the psychological and geo-strategic issues behind the self-sufficiency concerns. Rich in anecdotes and historical detail the book is not only a superb source of information but also fun to read.”

–Clemens Breisinger, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

For a review essay by Robert Springborg of the four volume set The Gulf Region: Economic Development and Diversification with my edited volume GCC Financial Markets: The World’s New Money Center (Berlin, London: Gerlach Press 2012)  see Middle East Journal 67/2 (Spring 2013).

The four volumes were the outcome of the Al Jisr project, which was funded by the European Commission.

For another review of the four volumes by Frauke Heard-Bey see Review of Middle East Studies 47/1 (Summer 2013).


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