A Lost Spy, a Daughter’s Quest, and the Deadly Politics of the Great Game for Oil
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 The Crash of Flight 3804, 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 and targeted killings that continue to this day—from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder to drone strikes. The book delivers an irrefutable indictment of these devastating forces and how the brutal violence they incite has shaped the Middle East and birthed an era of endless wars.
The Crash of Flight 3804 provides important context for understanding the region, while bringing 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, 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?
- What part does Ukraine play in the energy-dominance struggle between the US and Russia?
- 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 shines a glaring light on what so many have actually been dying for.
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Chelsea Green (April 2, 2020)