Saudi America

Saudi America
The Truth About Fracking and How It’s Changing the World

Bestselling author Bethany McLean reveals the true story of fracking's impact—on Wall Street, the economy and geopolitics.

The technology of fracking in shale rock—particularly in the Permian Basin in Texas—has transformed America into the world’s top producer of both oil and natural gas. The U.S. is expected to be “energy independent” and a “net exporter” in less than a decade, a move that will upend global politics, destabilize Saudi Arabia, crush Russia’s chokehold over Europe, and finally bolster American power again.

Or will it?

Journalist Bethany McLean digs deep into the cycles of boom and bust that have plagued the American oil industry for the past decade, from the financial wizardry and mysterious death of fracking pioneer Aubrey McClendon, to the investors who are questioning the very economics of shale itself. McLean finds that fracking is a business built on attracting ever-more gigantic amounts of capital investment, while promises of huge returns have yet to bear out. Saudi America tells a remarkable story that will persuade you to think about the power of oil in a new way.

Read Nicholas Lemann’s Letter to the Reader

Saudi America
  • ISBN: 9780999745441
  • Price: $15.99
  • E-book ISBN: 9780999745458
  • On Sale: September 12, 2018
  • Pages: 138


A Porchlight Editor's Choice

“The single best and most thorough account of the fracking boom up to [2018].” —David Wallace-Wells, New York Times

“McLean, who was a co-author of the bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, has tapped into the recent history of the U.S. oil and gas boom. She describes geology in plain English, recounts the rise and fall of one of the country’s most flamboyant shale gas tycoons, and studies the political consequences of a United States that is far less dependent on oil imports than it was just a decade ago.” —Steven Mufson, Washington Post

“A clear and concise portrait of the US shale revolution.... The book is one in a series from Columbia University that aims to give fresh views of global issues in just a few hours’ reading, and McLean covers a lot of ground in 138 pages, from the origins of the shale industry, to Saudi Arabia’s attempts at economic reform, to the outlook for electric cars.” —Ed Crooks, Financial Times


How America’s ‘most reckless’ billionaire created the fracking boom — Guardian

The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground — New York Times

🎧 Listen to our Underreported with Nicholas Lemann podcast episode with Bethany McLean

Also by Bethany McLean

Saudi America

Shaky Ground
The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants

Based on comprehensive reporting and dozens of interviews, Shaky Ground chronicles the story of Fannie and Freddie seven years after the 2008 economic meltdown.

Learn more

About the author

Bethany McLean
© Miranda Sita

Bethany McLean is the co-author of the bestseller The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron with Peter Elkind. Her second book, which she co-authored with Joe Nocera, is All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis. Her most recent book is Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and lives in Chicago.  @bethanymac12