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The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World


Russell Gold


“Russell Gold’s The Boom is a double quest. He tells the story of the biggest innovation in energy so far in this century—the shale gas revolution. He captures the personalities, and the drama and surprises, and brings clarity to the debate about the environmental impact—and what it means for the U.S. economy and “energy independence.” But it’s also a more personal story – about “The Farm” in rural Pennsylvania where he spent time as a child, and his quest to understand what is happening in this new age of shale gas.” (Daniel Yergin, author of The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World and of The Prize)

“In The Boom, Russell Gold provides a compelling account of the last half century of natural gas technology development. Driven by hunches, large ambitions and even larger personalities, the story of fracking is the story of innovation, American style. Gold delves into the growing conflict between economic development and concerns over environmental damage, and explains why fracking is seen by some as a vital bridge to a sustainable energy future and feared by others as another excuse to postpone addressing the risks of climate change…. The Boom puts a human face on the unfinished story of our struggle to transition to a sustainable world.” (Steven Chu, Former United States Secretary of Energy)

“Gold’s book is an early must-read for 2014: it is both a thorough and fascinating examination of the fracking economy and the technological innovations that have made these new riches accessible (including the often catastrophic damage done in the process of obtaining them).” (Gizmodo)

“An insider’s guide to the most controversial energy-production technique in the United States.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“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… 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.” (Publishers Weekly (starred))

“Whether you think fracking is our salvation or an agent of environmental destruction, The Boom is worth your time.” (

“Combining lucid explanations of fracking’s technical aspects with the practice’s more dramatic backstory, Gold’s work is a tour de force of contemporary journalism that will captivate anyone concerned with the future of energy consumption and our rapidly changing climate.” (Booklist (starred))

“This deftly handled account of the shale revolution provides a sobering assessment of the current limits of alternative energy, making for a nuanced treatment of an issue too many would prefer to see in black and white…Mr. Gold performs a valuable service by looking at it from a historical, economic, political and environmental perspective…his clear, thorough treatment of the subject is the starting point for a more informed discussion of energy and environmental policy.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“[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)

“Russell Gold’s The Boom, authoritative and fairly balanced, is a welcome guide – the best all-around book yet on fracking.” (San Francisco Chronicle)


Russell Gold has reported on energy regularly in The Wall Street Journal since 2002. His coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was honored with a Gerald Loeb Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The author of The Boom and Superpower, he lives in Austin, Texas.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 21, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451692297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451692297
  • ASIN: 1451692293
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

The Boom Reviews:

Steven Peterson

Want to get an accessible introduction to “fracking” (short for hydraulic fracturing)? This should do nicely. This is not a technical tome–far from it. It is a well written book aimed at a general audience. If you want a solid scientific analysis, this is not the book for you. But, if you wish to get a sense of what is at stake, this would be quite useful.

The author had family land in Pennsylvania in the Marcellus Shale region (a large pool of underground natural gas). This is a personal story of his effort to learn about fracking–its history, its positive economic effects, its effects on the environment, its effects on the land. One aspect of this work struck me as positive: it is a balanced work. Russell Gold, the author, does not take sides in an overt manner. By the end of this book, I felt that I had learned quite a bit about fracking as a technique and its effects (positive and negative).

In the process, one also gets a sense of the major figures in the development of the technique, such as Aubrey McClendon. There were quite a few swashbucklers, like McClendon, who tried to develop their companies as rapidly as possible. Others were more cautious. The examination of a series of key figures humanizes the book, giving us a sense of the personal side of this issue.

Fracking thrut

I enjoyed this book. It accomplished what I set out for which was a better understanding of modern fracking. The author gave a good inside perspective of how his parent interacted with the drilling companies. The book did dry up towards the end and the last chapters dragged and blurred together. Again the book gave me exactly what I was looking for with the education on fracking and the industry.

Emanuel Martin
Emanuel Martin is a Petroleum Engineer graduate from the Faculty of Engineering and a musician educate in the Arts Faculty at National University of Cuyo. In an independent way he’s researching about shale gas & tight oil and building this website to spread the scientist knowledge of the shale industry.

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