My favorite Central Asia blog Registan.net has a review of the book “The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea” by former New York Times and Wall Street Journal reporter Steve LeVine. Steve is a bright guy, and I look forward to reading this one myself. From Joushua Foust at Registan:
There’s another untold story there, one perhaps worthy of follow up: the unbelievable environmental damage the Soviets wrought, in Central Asia (mostly Kazakhstan, as the Aral Sea, Semipalatinsk, and Tengiz disasters may indicate), but across the entire USSR. Oil is a messay, dangerous industry—that much everyone can agree to (and the battle over preserving the wildlife refuges off Sakhalin speak to some long-overdue push back against reckless exploration). But so is communism, both in the hundred million people sacrificed to its ideology last century and the continued legacy of the scars its land bears. LeVine’s book is an important part of this story, and is so well written it is worth reading even if one has no interest on the subject. But it is only a part of a much grander, and sadder, story.