Synopses & Reviews
Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong.
and#160; Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oiland#160;production was in steep decline and natural gas wasand#160;hard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nationand#8217;sand#160;already tenuous relations with the Middle East.and#160;China was rapidly industrializing and competing forand#160;resources. Major oil companies had just about givenand#160;up on new discoveries on U.S. soil, and a new energyand#160;crisis seemed likely.
But a handful of men believed everything wasand#160;about to change.and#160;
Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon,and#160;Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcattersand#160;were determined to tap massive deposits of oil andand#160;gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissedand#160;as a waste of time. By experimenting withand#160;hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shaleand#151;a process now known as frackingand#151;the wildcattersand#160;started a revolution. In just a few years, they solvedand#160;Americaand#8217;s dependence on imported energy, triggeredand#160;a global environmental controversyand#151;and made andand#160;lost astonishing fortunes.
No one understands these menand#151;their ambitions,and#160;personalities, methods, and foiblesand#151;betterand#160;than the award-winning Wall Street Journal reporterand#160;Gregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access enabledand#160;him to get close to the frackers and chronicle theand#160;untold story of how they transformed the nation andand#160;the world. The result is a dramatic narrative trackingand#160;a brutal competition among headstrong drillers.and#160;It stretches from the barren fields of North Dakotaand#160;and the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvaniaand#160;to cluttered pickup trucks in Texas and tense Walland#160;Street boardrooms.
Activists argue that the same methods that areand#160;creating so much new energy are also harming ourand#160;water supply and threatening environmental chaos.and#160;The Frackers tells the story of the angry oppositionand#160;unleashed by this revolution and explores just howand#160;dangerous fracking really is.
The frackers have already transformed the economic,and#160;environmental, and geopolitical course ofand#160;history. Now, like the Rockefellers and the Gettysand#160;before them, theyand#8217;re using their wealth and power toand#160;influence politics, education, entertainment, sports,and#160;and many other fields. Their story is one of the mostand#160;important of our time.
MEET THE FRACKERS
GEORGE MITCHELL, the son of a Greek goatherd, who tried to tap rock that experts deemedand#160;worthless but faced an unexpected obstacle in his quest to change history.
AUBREY McCLENDON, the charismatic scion of an Oklahoma energy family, who scored billionsand#160;leading a historic land grab. He wasnand#8217;t prepared for the shocking fallout of his discoveries.
TOM WARD, who overcame a troubled childhood to become one of the nationand#8217;s wealthiestand#160;men. He could handle natural-gas fields but had more trouble with a Wall Street power broker.
HAROLD HAMM, the son of poor sharecroppers, who believed America had more oil thanand#160;anyone imagined. Hamm was determined to find the crude before others caught on.
CHARIF SOUKI, the dashing Lebanese immigrant who saw his career crumble and his fortuneand#160;disintegrate, leaving one last, unlikely chance for success.
MARK PAPA, the Enron castoff who panicked when he realized a resurgence of Americanand#160;natural gas was at hand, one that his company wasnand#8217;t prepared for.
"Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly expands on her 2008 three-part series, written just two and a half months after the collapse of financial giant Bear Stearns, with an hour-by-hour account of the crisis that goes behind the stock prices and into the meeting rooms of top executives as the crisis comes into horrifying focus. A kind of 'dysfunctional family, driven by greed and a complex code of internal politics,' Kelly expertly breaks down Bear's vulnerability as a leader in mortgage-backed securities, with 'one of the heaviest debt loads of any firm on the Street.' As word got out that the firm was in trouble, a wave of panic selling sent the stock plummeting to $60 on the second day of the crisis (after securing Federal Reserve funding) only to bottom out at two dollars a share in fire-house-sale offer from J.P. Morgan. Enlivened by graphic descriptions of executive disarray and cameo profiles of scrambling financiers as they come to appreciate the magnitude of the disaster they unleashed (COO Friedman, when asked by NY Fed Geithner how bad it was, answered 'Very. End of the world bad.'), this riveting account puts the ensuing worldwide financial crises in stark perspective." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for Kate Kellyand#8217;s New York Times
and#8220;It overstates nothing to call Kellyand#8217;s book brilliantly reported,and#160;and her narrative is grippingly propulsive and peopled withand#160;fascinatingly drawn characters.and#8221;
and#8212;Los Angeles Times
and#8220;The twists and turns of those frantic few days make forand#160;lively reading.and#8221;
and#8212;The New York Times
and#8220;Kelly takes us inside Bearand#8217;s last, dizzying days. . . .The realand#160;draw is the bookand#8217;s surgical detail.and#8221;
and#8220;Thereand#8217;s so much to like in this bookand#8212;lively anecdotes, crispand#160;pacing, and brevity . . . a highly accessible narrative for theand#160;general reader.and#8221;
Praise forand#160;The Frackers
"Zuckermanand#8217;s fast-paced, densely interesting The Frackers is the first book to tell the stories of the obstinate, ravenous, methodical, sometimes rascally oil executives of the recent boom. By focusing on people instead of trends, it gets to the heart of why the United States is once again the largest supplier of oil and gas in the world."
and#8212;The New Republic
and#8220;The Frackers, [Zuckermanand#8217;s] second book, is told with care and precision and a deep understanding of finance and corporate politics as well as oil and geology.and#8221;
and#8212;and#160;Bryan Burrough,and#160;The New York Times and#160;
and#8220;Fans of the lively, character-driven nonfiction of writers like Kurt Eichenwald and Ben Mezrich should welcome this book with open arms . . . A lively, exciting, and definitely thought-provoking bookand#8221;
and#8220;A fascinating study of American entrepreneurial culture and the modern robber barons who succeeded in creating an energy revolution.and#8221;
and#8220;Lovers of business and capitalism will appreciate The Frackers, and#8230; Zuckerman has done valuable and timely reporting on the men and independent companies that created the shale boom.and#8221;
and#8220;Colorful and#8230;compelling account [of] and#160;a revolution driven by stubborn entrepreneurs.and#8221;
and#8220;An interesting and first-rate narrativeand#8230; a dramatic taleand#8230; The book may be the definitive story of the innovative men behind the most significant energy discovery of our time.and#8221;
and#8212;Akron Beacon Journal
"Insightful...At times suspenseful...on-target in telling the tale of a group of wildcatters who risked almost everything and helped launch the United States on the path to energy independence."
and#8212; Natural Gas Intelligence
and#8220;Too little attention has been paid to one of America's biggest economic and scientific revolution of recent decades: the tapping of abundant oil and natural gas reserves within our own borders using a technique called fracking. Wall Street Journal reporter Zuckermanand#8230;sets out to change that with his unique talent of translating complex aspects of finances and geology into prose that reads like a blockbuster thriller.and#8221;
and#160;and#8212;Publishers Weekly (starred)
and#8220;Zuckerman details [the frackersand#8217;s] epic adventure with skill that makes it required reading for anyone looking to understand fundamental forces at work in our world today.and#8221;
and#160;and#8212;Forbes and#8220;Best Books of 2013and#8221;
"A dynamic narrative... introduces us to the major players behind a boom."
and#8212;San Antonio Express-News
and#8220;Greg Zuckerman tells the remarkable story of the larger than life entrepreneurs and deal makers behind this energy-industrial revolution. A great read, whether you are pro-fracking or against it.and#8221;
and#8212;Matthew Bishop, US Business Editor at The Economist
and#8220;If you are looking for the present-day take on a romantic rag-to-riches drama reminiscent of the Gilded Age, engaging tales of brave entrepreneurs whose desire to get really wealthy helped them persevere and prosper come boom or bust, look no further than The Frackers."
and#8211;Pittsburgh Post Gazette
and#8220;Gregory Zuckerman tells the story of the shale revolution well. He has an eye for detail and a flair for narrative that makes it highly readable... This is a story of innovation as perspirationand#8230; It is a reminder that innovation is neither easy nor cheap nor inevitableand#8221;
and#8212;The Times (UK)
"Greg Zuckerman's The Frackers will long be considered 'The Bible' on fracking and the history of drilling in the US and the wildcatting billionaires who were the main players. This incredibly thorough book explains, thrills, and has us on the edge of our seats all the way towards US energy independence."and#160;
and#8212;James Altucher, best-selling author, entrepreneur and blogger
Praise for The Greatest Trade Ever
and#8220; Simply terrific. Easily the best of the post-crash financial books.and#8221;
and#8220; Mr. Zuckerman is a first-rate reporter who is also able to explain the complexities of real estate finance in laymanand#8217;s terms. At times, The Greatest Trade Ever reads like a thriller.and#8221;
and#8212;The New York Times
and#8220; Heand#8217;s written the definitive account of a strange and wonderful subplot of the financial crisis.and#8221;
and#8220; Possibly the greatest book to come out of the financial crisis of 2007and#8211;08, and itand#8217;s certainly up there in the top 3.and#8221;
The shocking fall of Bear Stearns in March 2008 set off a wave of global financial turmoil that continues to ripple. How could one of the oldest, most resilient firms on Wall Street go so far astray that it had to be sold at a fire sale price? How could the guys who ran Bear so aggressively miscalculate so completely?
In this vivid and dramatic narrative, Kate Kelly takes us inside Bear's walls during its final, frenzied 72 hours as an independent firm. Expanding with fresh detail from her acclaimed front- page series in The Wall Street Journal, she captures every sight, sound, and smell of those three unbelievable days.
For decades, Bear had proudly recruited "P.S.Ds"- employees who were poor, smart, and had a deep desire to become rich. An elite family or Ivy League diploma didn't matter. Were you willing to do almost anything to make money for the firm? Were you tough enough to be a street fighter?
Bear's leaders were arrogant and didn't play nice. But their style had made them a fortune, and had helped Bear survive every crisis from the Great Depression to the dotcom bubble.
Yet as the subprime mortgage crisis began to brew, the firm's key executives descended into civil war. Kelly reveals fresh, never-before-told details about the moves that led to that brutal final weekend.
With a style as riveting as it is enlightening, Street Fighters is the definitive account of a once-great firm's demise, and the human folly that led to the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
The acclaimed New York Times bestseller-updated for the second anniversary of the collapse of Bear Stearns
The fall of Bear Stearns in March 2008 set off a wave of global financial turmoil that continues to ripple. How could one of the oldest, most resilient firms on Wall Street go so far astray that it had to be sold at a fire sale price? How could the street fighters who ran Bear so aggressively miscalculate so completely?
Expanding with fresh detail from her acclaimed front-page series in The Wall Street Journal, Kate Kelly captures every sight, sound, and smell of Bear's three final days. She also shows how Bear's top executives descended into civil war as the mortgage crisis began to brew.
The riveting, untold story of the men who are transforming global energy
In five years, the United States has seen a historic burst of oil and natural gas production, easing our insatiable hunger for energy. A new drilling process called fracking has made us the worldand#8217;s fastest growing energy power, on track to pass Saudi Arabia by 2020. But despite headlines and controversy, no previous book has shown how the revolution really happened.
The Frackers tells the dramatic tale of how a group of ambitious and headstrong wildcatters ignored the ridicule of experts and derision of colleagues to pursue massive, long-overlooked deposits. Against all odds, they changed the worldand#151;and made astonishing fortunes in the process.
Zuckermanand#8217;s exclusive access enabled him to get close to men like George Mitchell, who developed a new way to drill for gas in shale rock; Harold Hamm, who discovered so much oil heand#8217;s now worth more than the estate of Steve Jobs; and Aubrey McClendon, who lost more than $2 billion on a misguided gambit. Zuckerman shows how the frackers are now using their wealth to shake up Hollywood, education, politics, sports, and other fields, much like the Rockefellers and Gettys before them.
He also explores the debate over the environmental risks of fracking, and whether those risks are worth it for the United States to achieve energy independence and for the rest of the world to follow.
Nestled deep in the towers of banking and finance are the commodities traders who spend their days gambling with oil, gold, and corn contracts. Theyand#8217;re highly-educated world travelers with a penchant for risk, and theyand#8217;re here to bet big on the future of the raw materials that make our economies hum. Theyand#8217;re very wealthy, barely regulated, and can be a force for tremendous goodand#151;or ill.
Now Kate Kelly, the bestselling author of Street Fighters, shines light not just on the commodities market, but also on some of its key figures. Her characters include Pierre Andurand, a hedge-fund manager who generated the winningest annual performance ever for an oil trader in 2008, and Ivan Glasenberg, whose secretive Swiss commodities giant, Glencore, has been thrown into the spotlight.
Kelly paints a dramatic narrative of immense power in the hands of a few, and the so-far hapless efforts by the Obama Administration to rein in the cowboys.
and#147;Commodity players are a shrewd andand#160;indomitable lot. And the contracts theyand#160;trade are still so loosely regulated that theand#160;correct combination of money and skilland#160;creates irresistible opportunity. Thatand#8217;s whyand#160;Iand#8217;m only half joking when I call them theand#160;secret club that runs the world.and#8221;
When most people think of the drama of globaland#160;finance, they think of stocks and bonds, ventureand#160;capital, high-tech IPOs, and complex mortgagebackedand#160;securities. But commodities? Crude oil andand#160;soybeans? Copper and wheat? What could be moreand#160;boring?
Thatand#8217;s exactly what the elite commodity tradersand#160;want you to think. They donand#8217;t seek the mediaand#160;spotlight. They donand#8217;t want to be as famous asand#160;Warren Buffett or Bill Gross. Their astonishingand#160;wealth was created in near-total obscurity, becauseand#160;they dwelled either in closely held private companiesand#160;or deep within large banks and corporations,and#160;where commodity profits and losses werenand#8217;tand#160;broken out.
But if the individual participants in the greatand#160;commodities boom of the 2000s went unnoticed,and#160;their impact did not. Over several years the sizeand#160;of the market exploded, and so did prices for rawand#160;materialsand#151;raising serious questions about whetherand#160;the big traders were intentionally jacking up theand#160;cost of gasoline, food, and other essentials boughtand#160;by ordinary people around the world. What wasand#160;really driving all those price spikes?
Now Kate Kelly, the bestselling author ofand#160;Street Fighters, takes us inside this secretive innerand#160;circle that controls so many things we all dependand#160;on. She gets closer than any previous reporter toand#160;understanding these whip-smart, aggressive, andand#160;often egomaniacal men (yes, they are nearly alland#160;men). They work hard, play hard, flaunt theirand#160;wealth, and bet millions every day on a blend ofand#160;facts, analysis, and pure gut instinct.
Kellyand#8217;s narrative focuses on one of the mostand#160;extraordinary periods in financial history. Thoughand#160;the practice of gaming out price changes in commoditiesand#160;goes back to ancient Mesopotamia, it hadand#160;never before reached the extremes of the early toand#160;mid-2000s. Kelly exposes the role of the hedgeand#160;funds, banks, brokers, and regulators in this volatileand#160;market, through fascinating stories of and#147;secretand#160;cluband#8221; members such as . . .
- Pierre Andurand, a self-made multimillionaireand#160;who generated the winningest annual performanceand#160;ever for an oil trader in 2008 and hiredand#160;Elton John to perform at his wedding.
- Ivan Glasenberg, whose secretive Swiss commoditiesand#160;giant, Glencore, founded by the infamousand#160;American fugitive Marc Rich, orchestratedand#160;a massive merger with the help of former UKand#160;prime minister Tony Blair.
- Jon Ruggles, a brash know-it-alland#151;recruitedand#160;by Delta Air Lines to revitalize the airlineand#8217;s fuel hedgingand#160;business, he continued to make tradesand#160;in his personal account, a questionable practiceand#160;given his position.
Drawing on her exclusive access to the secret club,and#160;and following the trail from New York to Houston,and#160;London, Dubai, and beyond, Kelly reveals theand#160;immense power in the hands of a few, and theand#160;so-far contentious efforts by the Obama administrationand#160;to rein in the cowboys.
Thanks to this gripping new book
we know more about how they do it. And its even more shocking than you think.” The Independent
When most people think of the drama of global finance, they think of stocks and bonds, venture capital, high-tech IPOs, and complex mortgage-backed securities. But commodities? Crude oil and soybeans? Copper and wheat? What could be more boring?
Thats exactly what the elite commodity traders want you to think. They dont seek the media spotlight. They dont want to be as famous as Warren Buffett or Bill Gross. Their astonishing wealth was created in near-total obscurity, either in closely held private companies or deep within large banks and corporations, where commodity profits and losses werent broken out.
Now Kate Kelly, the bestselling author of Street Fighters, takes us inside this secretive inner circle that controls so many things we all depend on. She gets closer than any previous reporter to understanding these whip-smart, aggressive, and often egomaniacal men who bet millions every day on a blend of facts, analysis, and pure gut instinct.
About the Author
Gregory Zuckermanand#160;is a special writer at Theand#160;Wall Street Journal andand#160;the bestselling author ofand#160;The Greatest Trade Ever.and#160;He is a two-time winnerand#160;of the Gerald Loeband#160;Award and a winner ofand#160;the New York Press Cluband#160;Journalism Award. Heand#160;lives in New Jersey withand#160;his wife and two sons.