Short Review: BOOM by Tony Horwitz

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Short Review: BOOM by Tony Horwitz

Post by Fiction_Fanatic »

Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who documents his travels along the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route. Horwitz’ colorful narrative starts on the Highway of Death near Canada’s bitumen pits and travels thousands of miles to the coast of Texas.

I was intrigued by the title and the novelette (only blank pages) is a capricious jaunt along one of America’s most hotly discussed topics. The proposed pipeline (which is already being constructed in Canada), starts in Alberta and would span through Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma and end in the Gulf Coast of Texas. The author provides interesting perspectives on the people whose livelihoods depend on the oil economy, while also covering the people whose livelihoods would be destroyed if the pipeline were to be completed.

Interestingly enough, the most successful (anti-pipeline) group are Nebraskan farmers, a group more conservative than even Rush Limbaugh. They have been so adamant about protecting their land, and the precious aquifer underneath it, that they successfully changed state imminent domain law. Horwitz has a liberal leaning perspective on the transcontinental pipeline, however, he interviews and writes about the perspectives of everyone he meets along the trail (summarized in the title, which is almost longer than the book itself).

The Keystone XL Pipeline is one of the most polarizing issues in the United States. This book is an interesting read that gives a quick background and context for the issue. The author has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and explains a complex topic in a palatable way. I would recommend this novel for anyone interested in contemporary US politics and environmental policy.
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