Follow the Pipelines: Uncovering the Mystery of a Lost Spy and the Deadly Politics of the Great Game for Oil

Regular price $ 19.95

by Charlotte Dennett

Chelsea Green Publishing Company

2/1/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781645021476


Unraveling the mystery of a master spy’s death by following pipelines and mapping wars in the Middle East.

In 1947, Daniel Dennett, America’s sole master spy in the Middle East, was dispatched to Saudi Arabia to study the route of the proposed Trans-Arabian Pipeline. It would be his last assignment. A plane carrying him to Ethiopia went down, killing everyone on board. Today, Dennett is recognized by the CIA as a “Fallen Star” and an important figure in US intelligence history. Yet the true cause of his death remains clouded in secrecy.

In Follow the Pipelines, investigative journalist Charlotte Dennett digs into her father’s postwar counterintelligence work, which pitted him against America’s wartime allies—the British, French, and Russians—in a covert battle for geopolitical and economic influence in the Middle East. Through stories and maps, she reveals how feverish competition among superpower intelligence networks, military, and Big Oil interests have fueled indiscriminate attacks, misguided foreign policy, and targeted killings that continue to this day.

The book delivers an irrefutable indictment of these devastating forces and demonstrates how the brutal violence they incite has shaped the Middle East and birthed an era of endless conflict.

Follow the Pipelines also brings new questions to the fore:

  • To what lengths has the United States negotiated with the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS to secure Big Oil’s holdings in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen?
  • Was the Pentagon’s goal of defeating ISIS a fraudulent pretext for America’s occupation of Syrian eastern provinces and a land grab for oil?
  • Did the infamous double agent Kim Philby, who worked for the British while secretly spying for the Russians, have anything to do with Dennett’s death?
  • Why have the US and China made North Africa the next major battleground in the Great Game for Oil?

Part personal pilgrimage, part deft critique, Dennett’s insightful reportage examines what happens to international relations when oil wealth hangs in the balance, and she shines a glaring light on what so many have actually been dying for.


“The most extraordinary historical account of pipeline politics and the blood-drenched Great Game for Oil ever written. Investigative reporter Charlotte Dennett’s tenacious, decades-long quest to uncover the truth about the death of her father—America’s first master spy in the Middle East—has resulted in a riveting saga replete with previously hidden details about the powerful characters, countries, and corporations locked in vicious perpetual competition to control the world’s oil. No book connects the dots like this one, and with such fascinating clarity. Urgent reading for anyone looking to understand who and what brought us into the War on Terror era and how the groundwork for future wars is being laid.” —Kristina Borjesson, author of Feet to the Fire; creator and cohost of The Whistleblower Newsroom

“A must-read to understand America’s addiction to endless wars in the Middle East. Charlotte Dennett masterfully unravels the Great Game for Oil from the dawn of the Cold War, through Beirut and Baghdad’s bloody street battles, to today’s tragic headlines. Her unnerving journey begins with the mysterious death of her father (a renowned master spy in the Middle East) in the Ethiopian highlands in 1947 at the onset of the Cold War. Sleuthing through seven decades of the sinister American-Saudi nexus—framed by FDR and Ibn Saud—Dennett skillfully shines light on the feudal kingdom that continues to interlock itself with US interests to this day. Following a widening nexus of Big Oil, ARAMCO, and Middle East pipelines to the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel, US Congress, and the Saudi rulers in Riyadh, Dennett has crafted a page turner that reads like a thriller. Ironically, her father’s warning echoes throughout the book: ‘God help us if we ever send troops to the Middle East.’ Decades on, his daughter has picked up the torch to illuminate how America’s addiction to endless wars is actually the ongoing covert battle for energy still being played out in Afghanistan, Georgia, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Yemen, and other explosive regions of the world. And the tragedy continues. Bravissima for Dennett’s courageous, compelling, and unnerving work!” —Terence Ward, author of The Wahhabi Code

“Charlotte Dennett has written an excellent book summarizing the geopolitics of the Middle East historically through to current events. . . . This is an amazing piece of historical writing. . . . Students, foreign affairs ‘experts’ and officials should have this work as required reading.” —Jim Miles, Palestine Chronicle

About the Contributors:

Charlotte Dennett is a former Middle East reporter, investigative journalist, and attorney. She is the co-author of Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil. Dennett’s brother, Daniel C. Dennett III, famed philosopher and author of From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds and Consciousness Explained, wrote the foreword to her latest book.