A History of Royal Dutch Shell

Jan Luiten van Zanden, Joost Jonker, Stephen Howarth and Keetie Sluyterman  

Boom Publishers/Oxford University Press, 2007; 4 volumes; ISBN 978-0-19-929877-8 ; 1742 pp.

Understanding oil is essential for understanding modern history. The 20th century has rightly been called the century of oil, and the beginning of the 21st century suggests that this strategic commodity still gains in importance. From its creation in 1907 Royal Dutch Shell has played a key role in the global oil industry. For most of the 20th century Royal Dutch Shell was either the largest or, after Standard Oil/Exxon, the second largest oil company.
This History of Royal Dutch Shell comes in three parts. Volume One by Joost Jonker and Jan Luiten van Zanden covers the development of Royal Dutch Shell from the foundation of the two main constituting companies until the outbreak of the Second World War. Volume Two by Stephen Howarth and Joost Jonker takes the story from the outbreak of the Second World War to the first oil crisis in 1973. Volume Three by Keetie Sluyterman highlights how Shell faced up to the nationalizations in the oil industry in the 1970s, and how high oil prices cushioned the required changes. The story then moves on to the second challenging period, after the collapse of oil prices in 1986. It explores how the company responded to innovation in information technologies, and the return of globalization and privatization in the 1990s, with a major organizational overhaul. This book lastly discusses how in the early 21st century high oil prices, nationalizations and alarms about oil scarcity resurfaced, and the two parent companies were finally unified. Volume Four contains appendices and a cumulative index. Based on unrestricted access to Royal Dutch Shell records, these books give a unique insight into the exciting world of oil and the tireless efforts to ascertain energy supplies for future generations.
Lavishly illustrated and produced, the book is being published to coincide with the company’s centenary in 2007.

See also the appendix to A History of Royal Dutch Shell.