The Frackers

December 27, 2014 | By | Reply More

THE FRACKERSThe Frackers book review by Michelle Morris

By: Gregory Zuckerman
Review Revised: 12/30/2014

Gregory Zuckerman’s The Frackers documents the lives of energy tycoons, intertwining the accounts of their personal and professional losses and gains in a dramatic narrative.  Each of these men greatly impacted the economical and environmental spheres of American history.  From the introduction of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which is a technique of pumping gallons of various liquid substances, including water, into shale rocks to create fissures for gas to escape – to horizontal drilling, a method that involves drilling narrow strips of rock that are loaded with oil beneath the ground – Zuckerman shows the cunning and innovation of the leading men in the industry.  The Frackers details the transformation of the United States from a country dependent on foreign imports for its energy industry to the world’s largest producer of natural gas.

The Frackers is an excellent introduction to the behind-the-scenes of the gas and oil industries.  Zuckerman provides detailed explanations of key terms and also delves into the scientific and historical backgrounds of the recent, revolutionary energy methods and movements.  Zuckerman’s choice of a dramatic narrative structure should be applauded, as it keeps the book from just being a regurgitation of facts and numbers – and instead, makes it a work that is both compelling and informative.

However, despite the many positives to Zuckerman’s work, there are drawbacks.  In fact, Zuckerman’s colloquial language often competes with the economical and environmental jargon of the book.  Zuckerman’s narrative voice – the very aspect that sets the book apart from the rest and appeals to a wider audience – is, at times, as much of a negative factor as it is a positive one. Furthermore, there are times when the book is redundant, especially when defining key words (such as fracking and horizontal drilling).  While this can help cement ideas and re-emphasize them in various ways, it may also appear as demeaning or unnecessary.

Overall, The Frackers is a recommended read, especially for those looking for an introduction to the business and economical sides of the major energy industries.  Zuckerman’s book delves into both the advantages and drawbacks of fracking.  Although the author does not explicitly choose a side, he does suggest that the negative aspects of fracking are “overstated” and that an increase in energy production has numerous benefits, including mass employment, economic growth, and a decreased trade deficit.  The Frackers is an overall positive read, one that subverts the typical outlook on American economics and business and instead, focuses on six men, who proved that even when everything seems futile, there are endless opportunities for expansion and revolution.


GEORGE MITCHELL (Founder of Mitchell Energy)

AUBREY MCCLENDON (Cofounder of Chesapeake Energy)

TOM WARD  (Cofounder of Chesapeake Energy)

HAROLD HAMM (Founder of Continental Resources)

CHARIF SOUKI (Founder of Cheniere Energy)

MARK PAPA (Chief executive office at EOG Resources)

Category: Recommended Reading

About the Author ()

I am a junior at UCLA majoring in English literature. I volunteer at the Mission Viejo library and with Pacific Symphony’s Arts-X-Press. Through IEA, I hope to learn and share knowledge about energy conservation and production.

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