Synopses & Reviews
America needed the oil. In the aftermath of the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, during which Americans waited hours in line to buy rationed gasoline, the world's largest construction companies rushed north to build the 900-mile, $8 billion Trans-Alaska Pipeline. National security was at stake.
Many of the 70,000 men and women who worked on the pipeline saw it as a way to find a new life, or to escape an old one. The three-year boom was unlike any other, surpassing even the Gold Rush for social and economic upheaval that touched nearly every Alaskan in some way.
With an avalance of oil money came trouble -- drugs, prostitution, gambling, divorce, extortion, and violent crime. The cost of living soared. The real-estate and rental market went wild as tens of thousands came seeking fat pipeline paychecks for "seven 12s" - working seven days a week, twelve hours a day.
Thirty-five years later, award-winning journalist Dermot Cole of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, recalls the best of the pipeline stories with humor, authenticity, and drama.
In the 1970s the world's largest construction companies invaded Alaska in a wild rush to build the 800-mile, $10 billion trans-Alaska pipeline. The resulting rapid economic and social change touched every Alaskan.
In the 1970s, the world's largest construction companies invaded Alaska in a wild rush to build the 800-mile $8 billion trans-Alaska pipeline. Workers by the tens of thousands headed north, hoping to make their fortunes working on the pipeline, in a stampede that dramatically affected Alaska. With the avalanche of big money and new arrivals came new problems: drugs, prostitution, gambling, and violent crime. Rapid economic and social changes ultimately touched the lives of virtually every Alaskan. Nearly a quarter-century later, Fairbanks journalist Dermot Cole recalls the best of the pipeline stories with humor, authenticity, and drama.
In writing this book I have relied on written accounts from the pipeline period in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States; numerous books; tape-recorded interviews conducted during construction as part of a private sociological study, and later as part of a state-funded history project to document the pipeline; interviews with people who were in Alaska at the time; and a host of government reports and other documents.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 219-221) and index.
About the Author
Dermot Cole is a long-time newspaper columnist for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Cole grew up in Pennsylvania and lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Montana before moving to Alaska at the start of the pipeline boom. He studied journalism at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was named a Michigan Journalism Fellow in 1986-87 at the University of Michigan. He also worked for the Associated Press in Seattle. Cole is the author of Frank Barr, Bush Pilot in Alaska and the Yukon; Hard Driving: The 1908 Auto Race from New York to Paris; and North to the Future: The Alaska Story 1959-2009.