Story of Oil: Titusville PA to Newark TX

The oil business is not for the faint of heart. In 1858, Colonel Edwin Drake made his Titusville PA discovery just as he had reached the point of insolvency. One-hundred forty years later, Mitchell Energy in Texas perfected the technology that made fracking commercially possible, enhancing the fortune of its founder, George P. Mitchell, and making the U.S. the world’s second largest oil producer. Drawing on Daniel Yergin’s “page-turner,” The Prize, the course considers the people who created and addressed the major issues the industry has faced and ends with thoughts on the world’s energy future.  MSC, Classroom #3; Limit: 36

Recommended Book: Daniel Yergin, The Prize, ISBN  9781439110126. 

Suggested Video:   A link to a 2016 eight-part NPR series based on Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize” and to other more recent programs on oil and energy is here.  Students who join the course may want to familiarize themselves with the series and other programs covered by the link on developments such as fracking that occurred after the second edition of The Prize was published in 2008.

As indicated above, there is no reading or viewing “requirement” for the course and thus no recommendation as to whether the  video should be substituted for, or replace, the book. It is up to you, the student, to decide if you would like to read the book, watch the video series, or do both or neither. 

Charles Dunbar was a U.S. and U.N. ambassador and diplomat. He was President of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs and taught at Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, Simmons College, and Boston University. This is the tenth course he has led at the Midcoast Senior College.

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