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» » The Greatest Gamblers: The Epic of American Oil Exploration

The Greatest Gamblers: The Epic of American Oil Exploration by Ruth Sheldon Knowles

The Greatest Gamblers: The Epic of American Oil Exploration
Title:
The Greatest Gamblers: The Epic of American Oil Exploration
Author:
Ruth Sheldon Knowles
ISBN:
0806116544
ISBN13:
978-0806116549
Size fb2:
1515 kb
Size epub:
1365 kb
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press; 2nd edition (March 15, 1980)
Language:
English
Pages:
390 pages
Other formats:
mbr azw lrf doc
Rating:
4.1
Votes:
934
Category:
Engineering & Transportation
Subcategory:
Engineering

"Oil," writes Ruth Sheldon Knowles, "is the most hazardous, expensive, heartbreaking gambling game in the world." And, as this book dramatically proves, the men who have been the gamblers of the American oil business have been some of the most colorful and fantastic personalities in our history.

The Greatest Gamblers is the story of our remarkable oilmen and the vast industry they have created-from its simple beginnings in 1859 at Titusville, Pennsylvania, to the big-business oil operations of today. Here are the wildcatters, the prospectors, the scientists, the hunch players (Mrs. Knowles points out that independent oilmen have discovered more than three-fourths of America's oil fields). Here you will meet "unlucky" Dad Joiner, whose fortunes changed only in his seventies when a worthless ten-acre tract of Texas wasteland proved the key to one of America's two biggest oil fields; and H. 1. Hunt, who parlayed an oil lease he won at a poker game into an oil business that made him one of the richest men in the United States.

Harry Sinclair ... Tom Slick … Mike Benedum … Everette DeGolyer … Charles Canfield … Edward Doheny ― the pages of this book are crowded with the stories of such men, their tough boom towns, their dogged persistence and wild successes, and the brutal competition they faced.

But The Greatest Gambler is also the story of a prospectors' rush that has become an organized industry. An absorbing portion of the book tells how the industry has found new uses for petroleum and its by products, and how this sometimes involved as much heartbreak as prospecting. There were the ships that exploded when oilmen first tried to market petroleum as marine fuel, the locomotive roundhouse that blew up when they first tried to convert railroads to oil. Mrs. Knowles discusses knowledgeably the present predicament of the petroleum industry and what is necessary to find and develop America's remaining great oil and gas resources. The Greatest Gamblers is a lively and authoritative account of what is probably the most fascinating and adventurous business of all.

  • Xanna
This is a really great read. Historical and anecdotal, the book follows lines of historical oil exploration and the discoveries of significant fields, exploration trends and the incredibly colorful men and women who built this industry.

As a Landman, working in the courthouse records to trace mineral interests and oil and gas leaseholds, I have been amazed to actually come across some of the names of these industry-leading people as their wildcatting careers unfolded across the areas where I have worked. They left their marks in the annals of American History.

The book is both inspirational and prophetic, foreseeing the 21st Century reinvention and ongoing revolution of the oil industry resulting from American ingenuity and imagination applied to the search for hydrocarbon energy and the unbridled generation of wealth.

K. G. Cole,
Landman
  • Whiteflame
Husband really enjoyed this book and read it often for awhile. Got one for our son.
  • Qutalan
A must read for those interested in our history with fossil fuels.
  • Qus
A great treatise on the oil industry and the advances made over the years. It would be wonderful for people to have a better interpretation of how oil and gas has played such a vital role in our country's - and the world's - evolution over the last 150 years!
  • Ceck
It is interesting to read the real epic of American oil exploration. It doesn't drag at any point, not does it have any loose ends. A wholesome world of information.
  • Elizabeth
This book is informative but, it is a slow read. Hard to get started, once you are in you will enjoy the read.
  • Kajishakar
I'm assuming few are likely to read this book unless they're specifically researching the history oil and gas industry. That's a shame. Although this is a fairly long, very specific work last updated over 25 years ago, it's surprisingly engaging and well-written.
Knowles grew up in an oil family and was a successful oilwoman in her own right. She knows the industry's history inside and out, managing grand overviews of the associated issues and technical developments as easily as she shares anecdotes and brief biographies. She's never overly-technical, focusing repeatedly on just what the title suggests: the thrill and risk of the hunt, the windfall of discovery, and the drive to risk it all and do it again. The reader can't help but gain a basic understanding of the science behind it all, but the academic benefit is incidental-there are too many fascinating tales being told to notice it along the way.
The roles of men like John D. Rockefeller, Harry Sinclair, E.W. Marland, and others, mix with stories from less-recognized names to cover everything from Edwin Drake's original oil strike in Titusville, PA, in 1959, to the energy crisis of the 1970s. The original edition of the book was published in 1959, so most of the focus is on the late 19th century and early 20th. The story begins in Pennsylvania, then moves to Texas & Oklahoma, with Mexico, California, Louisiana, Illinois, and a few other places visited along the way.
While I initially found Knowles' update of events since 1959 rather dry compared to the rest of the work, her take on environmental concerns, the Alaskan pipeline, and the Energy Crisis (a contemporary event at the time) are quite intriguing. It's always good to hear plausible arguments for the `other side' of the story.
I'd recommend this book highly for those researching the oil & gas industry, Oklahoma history (the stories from various Oklahoma boomtowns alone are worth getting the book), or general American history in the late-19th and early-20th century. Although apparently out-of-print, it's worth tracking down a copy. Because it would be hard to convince the casual reader of _The Davinci Code_ or Harry Potter that this is a great `next read', I stuck with 4 stars instead of 5.
I'm assuming few are likely to read this book unless they're specifically researching the history oil and gas industry. That's a shame. Although this is a fairly long, very specific work last updated over 25 years ago, it's surprisingly engaging and well-written.
Knowles grew up in an oil family and was a successful oilwoman in her own right. She knows the industry's history inside and out, managing grand overviews of the associated issues and technical developments as easily as she shares anecdotes and brief biographies. She's never overly-technical, focusing repeatedly on just what the title suggests: the thrill and risk of the hunt, the windfall of discovery, and the drive to risk it all and do it again. The reader can't help but gain a basic understanding of the science behind it all, but the academic benefit is incidental-there are too many fascinating tales being told to notice it along the way.
The roles of men like John D. Rockefeller, Harry Sinclair, E.W. Marland, and others, mix with stories from less-recognized names to cover everything from Edwin Drake's original oil strike in Titusville, PA, in 1959, to the energy crisis of the 1970s. The original edition of the book was published in 1959, so most of the focus is on the late 19th century and early 20th. The story begins in Pennsylvania, then moves to Texas & Oklahoma, with Mexico, California, Louisiana, Illinois, and a few other places visited along the way.
While I initially found Knowles' update of events since 1959 rather dry compared to the rest of the work, her take on environmental concerns, the Alaskan pipeline, and the Energy Crisis (a contemporary event at the time) are quite intriguing. It's always good to hear plausible arguments for the 'other side' of the story.
I'd recommend this book highly for those researching the oil & gas industry, Oklahoma history (the stories from various Oklahoma boomtowns alone are worth getting the book), or general American history in the late-19th and early-20th century. Although apparently out-of-print, it's worth tracking down a copy. Because it would be hard to convince the casual reader of _The Davinci Code_ or Harry Potter that this is a great 'next read', I stuck with 4 stars instead of 5.