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For Rupert Russell, the Brexit vote was only the latest shock in a decade full of them: the unstoppable war in Syria, huge migrant flows into Europe, beheadings in Iraq, children placed in cages on the US border. In Price Wars he sets out on a worldwide journey to investigate what caused the wave of chaos that consumed the world in the 2010s.

Travelling to Tunisia, Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine, East Africa and Central America and encountering many of those affected – from cattle raiders in Kenya and street kids in Venezuela to hedge fund managers, whistle-blowers and Nobel prize winning economists – Russell discovers that unrest in all these places was triggered by dramatic and mysterious swings in the price of essential commodities. Deregulation of the commodities markets means that food prices can shoot up even in years of abundant harvests, causing hunger and protest. Oil prices and real estate values can surge even when supplies are normal, enriching and emboldening dictators. It is this instability – fuelled by banks and hedge funds in far away New York and London – that has toppled regimes and unsettled the West.

Price Wars is a fascinating, original and ground-breaking expose of the power of the commodities markets to disrupt the world.


Rupert Russell's adventures into a host of modern apocalypses are retold in this thrilling page-turner. The result is an incredible synthesis that places global finance at the heart of chaos across the world
Dry, objective, scary, funny: let's hope it's not all true, but that seems unlikely
Price Wars is a totally original and stimulating read, part war zone reportage, part economic history and buzzing with ideas about the way markets work that will change your understanding of the world we live in