Baker & Taylor Describes how the petroleum industry has changed Alaska, discussing the plight of the indigenous peoples, the engineering feats of the Alaskan pipeline, oil spills, and more
Blackwell North Amer In Valdez, Alaska, there's a $12 million barley terminal that has never held a grain of barley. In fact, the entire barley crop of Alaska would barely fill one freight car. But when the terminal was built in the early 1980s, no one complained. The state, with a population of fewer than five hundred thousand, was awash in money from a torrent of oil that began spewing from the North Slope in 1978. As Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Strohmeyer recounts, this incredible influx of oil money created unprecedented opportunity for the state. It also set in motion a wave of crisis and exploitation that plagues Alaska to this day. It's a saga on a heroic scale, told through the stories of the individuals whose lives were turned upside down. Strohmeyer captures the plight of the state's native peoples, thrust overnight into an economy that unmoored their traditional culture. He vividly conveys the engineering feats that built the pipeline and the union shenanigans that controlled its construction. He chronicles the stunning incompetence that resulted in - and followed - the Exxon Valdez spill, and the routine but even more deadly environmental threats posed by overfishing and by the insatiable appetite for development. And he records a veritable catalog of corruption, from petty profit-skimming by local officials to wholesale influence peddling in the clubby state legislature. Extreme Conditions is the unforgettable portrait of a state intoxicated by enormous sums of money that distorted its unique character and fueled expectations of unparalleled grandiosity. The fall, so far, has been devastating. Whether it can be checked, Strohmeyer makes clear, is a matter of urgent concern to us all.
Baker & Taylor The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Crisis in Bethlehem: Big Steel's Battle to Survive describes the plight of Alaska's indigenous peoples, the engineering feats of the Alaskan pipeline, oil spills, and more.