The Boom

The Boom by Russell Gold

One hundred wells a day. That is the number of wells that are drilled and hydraulically fractured – or fracked – every day in the United States.

In The Boom, Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold chronicles the rise of this once-obscure oilfield technology, a story that answers a critical question of our time: where will the energy come from to power the world – and what price will we have to pay for it. It is a commanding piece of journalism, an astounding study of human ingenuity, and an epic work of storytelling.

From his first visit to a “frack pad” in 2003, Gold chronicles the rise of fracking and how it touches all of our lives. Fracking has vociferous critics and fervent defenders, but these arguments obscure the true story of how fracking has become a fixture of the American landscape and global economy. This is the story that Gold tackles in The Boom, a book that will change the way you look at energy.

Interested in assigning The Boom in your classroom? Click here for a Readers Guide and suggestions for questions and additional sources for classroom use.


“Given the exaggerations, distortions and outright lies that pollute so much of the debate over the shale revolution, Mr. Gold performs a valuable service by looking at it from a historical, economic, political, and environmental perspective. For those interested, his clear, thorough treatment of the subject is the starting point for a more informed discussion of energy and environmental policy.”

— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“In The Boom, Russell Gold brings new clarity to a subject awash in hype from all sides. The Boom is 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, and that’s a good thing.”

— The Associated Press

“Gold delivers an engaging and expansive education on the promise and risks involved with the sudden rise of fracking for oil and natural gas… Worthy of the attention of both fracking’s boosters and opponents.”

— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Arguably the most readable and best-researched volume looking at hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ and its impact.”

–Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Authoritative and fairly balanced…a welcome guide–the best all-around book yet on fracking.”

— San Francisco Chronicle

“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

“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).”

— Geoff Manaugh,

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

— Kirkus Reviews

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