Book chronicles businessmen who led fracking boom - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Book chronicles businessmen who led fracking boom

Posted: Updated:

"The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters" (Portfolio/Penguin), by Gregory Zuckerman

Gregory Zuckerman's book "The Frackers" tells the unexpected story of how a once-obscure method of producing oil and natural gas from shale rock led to a huge American energy boom - and to a bitter debate over whether that's a great thing or an environmental disaster.

The subject of fracking often provokes extreme emotions, and the 393 pages of "The Frackers" takes the positive view. It's written as an old-fashioned American success story as the founders of small independent companies, not multinational corporations, ignore everyone, risk everything and finally hit it big. And in this case big means billions of dollars, not millions.

"The Frackers" isn't a work of great literature, but both supporters and opponents of the drilling boom will find important reporting that illuminates the current debate. It's worth knowing that George Mitchell, who did more than anyone to unlock the potential of shale rock fracking, lost a $200 million lawsuit in the early 1990s to Texas landowners who claimed his drilling fouled their water (the judgment was thrown out on appeal).

And while the characters in "The Frackers" are generally celebrated as self-made men, Zuckerman also mentions that the drillers benefited from U.S. Department of Energy research. A federal tax credit that aimed to promote new sources of fossil fuel energy helped, too, so while the businessmen took much of the risk, government also promoted the shale boom.

Many readers will be surprised to learn that the shale revolution began more than 30 years ago, not five or 10. In the mid-1970s, the Arab oil embargo shook up the American government and energy companies, prompting frenzied efforts to find new domestic supplies of energy. It took decades of failures and billions of dollars in capital to unlock the shale reserves.

Lovers of business and capitalism will appreciate "The Frackers," while those looking for an in-depth discussion of the environmental impacts will be disappointed. Other books, such as Tom Wilber's "Under the Surface," do a better job there.

But "The Frackers" doesn't claim to be the whole story. Zuckerman has done valuable and timely reporting on the men and independent companies that created the shale boom.

It may take 20 years for the next chapters in the story to become clear and for history to judge where "The Frackers" fits in American history.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    Ohio police: Wedding guest tries to steal gifts

    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
    DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Police in Dayton say a wedding guest tried to make off with checks and cash for the newlyweds. Officers were called to the wedding reception late Saturday night after workers noticed that a safe had been emptied out. Police say about $6,800 was found in unopened wedding cards inside a tuxedo garment bag belonging to one of the guests. A police report says surveillance video showed a man entering the office and later walking out with the garment bag. The man told police he...More >>
  • Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    Flying club remembers 4 killed in Ohio plane crash

    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
    CLEVELAND (AP) - Members of a flying club held a candlelight vigil to remember four Ohio college students killed a week ago when a small plane crashed just after taking off near Cleveland. Friends and family members were among the 80 people who gathered Sunday night near the crash site in Willoughby Hills. Federal officials say the pilot of the plane reported he was having trouble climbing just after takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. All four people aboard the plane were stude...More >>
  • Ohio lawmaker seeks video in Wal-Mart shooting

    Ohio lawmaker seeks video in Wal-Mart shooting

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:10 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:10:31 GMT
    CINCINNATI (AP) - The president of Ohio's legislative black caucus is urging the state attorney general to release surveillance video of the fatal police shooting of a young black man in a suburban Dayton Wal-Mart store. Democratic state Rep. Alicia Reece of Cincinnati says on her web site that she has written to Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine expressing deep concern that information isn't being released in a way that inspires confidence, especially in the African-American community....More >>
    CINCINNATI (AP) - The president of Ohio's legislative black caucus is urging the state attorney general to release surveillance video of the fatal police shooting of a young black man in a suburban Dayton Wal-Mart store. Democratic state Rep. Alicia Reece of Cincinnati says on her web site that she has written to Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine expressing deep concern that information isn't being released in a way that inspires confidence, especially in the African-American community....More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms