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Finding Oil, Finding Oil, 0803234864, 0-8032-3486-4, 978-0-8032-3486-4, 9780803234864, Brian Frehner, , Finding Oil, 0803238371, 0-8032-3837-1, 978-0-8032-3837-4, 9780803238374, Brian Frehner

Finding Oil
The Nature of Petroleum Geology, 1859-1920
Brian Frehner

hardcover
2011. 248 pp.
34 illustrations
978-0-8032-3486-4
$50.00 s
 

Oil has made fortunes, caused wars, and shaped nations. Accordingly, no one questions the idea that the quest for oil is a quest for power. The question we should ask, Finding Oil suggests, is what kind of power prospectors have wanted. This book revises oil’s early history by exploring the incredibly varied stories of the men who pitted themselves against nature to unleash the power of oil.

Brian Frehner shows how, despite the towering presence of a figure like John D. Rockefeller as a quintessential “oil man,” prospectors were a diverse lot who saw themselves, their interests, and their relationships with nature in profoundly different ways. He traces their various pursuits of power from 1859 to 1920 as a struggle for cultural, intellectual, and professional authority, over both nature and their peers. Here we see how some saw power as the work they did exploring and drilling into landscapes, while others saw it in the intellectual work of explaining how and where oil accumulated. Charting the intersection of human and natural history, their story traces the ever-evolving relationship between science and industry and reveals the unsuspected role geology played in shaping our understanding of the history of oil.

Brian Frehner is an assistant professor of history at Oklahoma State University. He received a Bill and Rita Clements Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship for the Study of Southwestern America in 2004–5 and is the coeditor of Indians and Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest.

"Effectively illustrated and thoroughly footnoted, with an extensive bibliography and a complete index, the book provides an intelligent readership with an appreciation for the temporal and technical aspects of early petroleum geology."—W. C. Peters, CHOICE

"As oil became more difficult, more expensive, and riskier to find, investments in the training and employment of professional geologists made economic sense to practical oil men bent on creating global scientific knowledge of the best places to explore. Finding Oil is an excellent introduction to this fascinating history."—Joseph A. Pratt, Journal of American History

"Finding Oil deserves a secure place on the bookshelves of oil history scholars and buffs. But it should also appeal to anyone interested in the history of the natural sciences, the relationship between nature and culture, and the intersections between business, technology, and the environment."—Tyler Priest, Annals of Wyoming

"[Finding Oil] expands considerably our understanding of oil development in the southern plains."—Brian C. Black, Journal of Southern History

"Approachable and well-written."—Jordan P. Howell, Journal of Historical Geography

"Frehner has found a story worth telling and has told it well."—John W. Stockwell Jr., Leading Edge


 2012 Hal K. Rothman Book Prize

Funding for the index has been provided by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies.
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