The “best all-around book yet on fracking” (San Francisco Chronicle) from a Pulitzer Prize finalist: “Gold's work is a tour de force of contemporary journalism” (Booklist).
First invented in 1947, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has not only become a major source of energy, it is changing the way we use energy, and the energy we use. It is both a threat and a godsend for the environment, and it is leading the revival of manufacturing in the United States.
A definitive narrative history, The Boom follows the twists and turns in the development and adoption of this radical technology. It is a thrilling journey filled with colorful characters: the green-minded Texas oilman who created the first modern frack; a bare-knuckled Oklahoman natural gas empire-builder who gave the world an enormous new supply of energy and was brought down by his own success and excesses; an environmental leader whose embrace of fracking brought an end to his public career; and an aging fracking pioneer who is now trying to save the industry from itself.
A fascinating and exciting exploration of one of the most controversial and promising sources of energy, The Boom “brings new clarity to a subject awash in hype from all sides…a thoughtful, well-written, and carefully researched book that provides the best overview yet of the pros and cons of fracking. Gold quietly leads both supporters and critics of drilling to consider other views” (Associated Press).
Wall Street Journal Senior Energy Reporter Gold delivers an engaging and expansive education on the promise and risks involved with the sudden rise of fracking for oil and natural gas in the United States. The use of fluids, explosives, and acids to fracture oil and gas bearing rock formations has been a regular practice for decades. The breakthrough unfolded with the discovery that enormous amounts of water mixed with sand and other chemicals could be used to fracture and release huge amounts of natural gas and petroleum from previously untapped "source rock" shale formations. While this discovery holds the potential to make the U.S. energy independent and supply fuel for the nation for decades, it also raises serious environmental concerns. Gold delivers a balanced analysis weighing the benefits (the reduced use of dirtier coal, an end to the reliance on foreign oil and foreign entanglements, and sudden and reliable abundance of energy supply) against the pitfalls (the impacts on the environment and quality of life as energy companies stampede to secure leases and rush to drill, often in populated areas). Worthy of the attention of both fracking's boosters and opponents, Gold's insightful reportage supplies a well-rounded view of a polarizing subject.