Engler, Robert 1922-2007

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Engler, Robert 1922-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born July 12, 1922, in New York, NY; died of heart disease, February 23, 2007, in New York, NY. Political scientist, educator, and author. A retired professor at the City University of New York, Engler was best known for his criticisms of the U.S. oil industry. He graduated from the City University of New York in 1942 with a degree in social science, and during the war was with the U.S. Army in Europe. Toward the end of World War II he helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp, and it was this experience that spurred his interest in politics. He completed a Ph.D. in government at the University of Wisconsin in 1947. For the next three years, Engler taught at Syracuse University. He was briefly an assistant to the president of the National Farmers Union before joining the Sarah Lawrence College faculty in 1951. Engler moved on to the City University of New York in 1969, where he taught until his retirement in 1991. His interest in political justice and accountability drew him to the oil industry, which he discovered to be operating almost outside government monitoring. The political power of oil companies gave them the influence to prod the federal government into giving them special favors regarding taxes and pricing controls. These companies, Engler learned, also managed to keep information about oil reserves and shipments largely secret from federal agencies. Convinced that the oil industry needed to be held accountable for its actions, Engler offered his testimony before congressional committees and wrote two revealing books critical of the business: The Politics of Oil: A Study of Private Power and Democratic Directions (1961) and The Brotherhood of Oil: Energy Policy and the Public Interest (1977). The former won the Sidney Hillman Foundation prize.



Washington Post, March 6, 2007, p. B7.