New Book Day: Sixty Years of Boom and Bust: The Impact of Oil in North Dakota, 1958-2018

We are very excited to announce the release of Kyle Conway’s edited volume Sixty Years of Boom and Bust: The Impact of Oil in North Dakota, 1958-2018.

The book interleaves a series of incisive new chapters on the 21st-century North Dakota oil boom with chapters from the 1958 Williston Report, a seminal work describing and analyzing the impact of the first Bakken boom. This unique approach gives the reader not only a comprehensive guide to the 1950s and 21st-century boom, but also a comparative perspective on how communities and the state has adapted to the vagaries of the boom-bust oil economy. 

As with all book from The Digital Press, Sixty Years of Boom and Bust is available as a free download and a low-cost paper back from Amazon. You can download or purchase it here.

The book is also significant because it’s the 20th book published by The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. It joins Conway and Caraher’s The Bakken Goes Boom (2016) and Nicole Burton,  Hugh Goldring, and Patrick McCurdy’s graphic novel The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet (2018) to form a trio of works from The Digital Press that explore the influence of oil on society, the economy, politics, and art.  

Here’s a link to the media kit for the book, and here’s the press release:

Over the last decade, North Dakota has come into its own as an oil producing power. For many people, this meteoric rise to the top of the domestic oil production charts is the result of fracking technology. North Dakota, however, has been an oil for over 60 years and the booms and bust are inscribed on North Dakota politics, economics, culture, and landscape.

Kyle Conway is one of the most thoughtful and sophisticated scholars of the 21st century Bakken boom. His newest edited volume, Sixty Years of Boom and Bust: The Impact of Oil in North Dakota 1958-2018, appears September 1st from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.

Sixty Years of Boom and Bust combines chapters from the Williston Report, originally published in 1958, with cutting edge contemporary scholarship on the policies, economy, material culture, politics and social changes in the state. The Williston Report was a study of the first oil boom in North Dakota prepared by UND faculty and published by the University of North Dakota Press. Sixty Years of Boom and Bust both republishes the Williston Report and brings it up to date.    

Conway describes this unique approach to boom and bust as “in some ways confirming, in some ways challenging the old adage about ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same.’”

And he hopes that the book will show that “policymakers and scholars need to listen to an even wider range of people when trying to understand North Dakota’s oil booms.”

Brad Rundquist, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UND and one of the contributors noted: “one my primary goals as dean is to encourage and support research by College faculty and students focused on the State of North Dakota. I am proud to have been a co-author of a chapter in the book, and pleased that the book’s editor is an alumnus of UND.”

This is not the first book on the Bakken edited by Conway. Sixty Years of Boom and Bust in some ways stands as a companion volume to Conway’s landmark 2016 volume, The Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota. Both volumes are available as free, open access digital downloads and as low-cost paperbacks and are published by The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. A third volume fills out another slot on the developing “Bakken Bookshelf,” The Bakken: An Archaeology of the Industrial Landscape. It was published by NDSU press in 2017, was written by Bret Weber and William Caraher, who also have contributed to Sixty Years of Boom and Bust.

Sixty Years of Boom and Bust is the twentieth book published by the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and it established the Digital Press as the flagship open access publisher in North Dakota and in the Northern Plains.

Director Bill Caraher observes, “It’s particular gratifying that the twentieth book from The Digital Press is edited by Kyle Conway, who has been with the press from its founding in 2014. It is also exciting to republish a significant work from the long dormant University of North Dakota Press and to carry on the tradition of high quality publishing at the UND.”

Caraher added, “The Digital Press has benefited from the unwavering support of the University of North Dakota and the College of Arts and Sciences and our shared commitment to the idea that major universities have university presses.”

Sixty Years Cover SINGLE PAGE

In the 1950s, North Dakota experienced its first oil boom in the Williston Basin, on the western side of the state. The region experienced unprecedented social and economic changes, which were carefully documented in a 1958 report by four researchers at the University of North Dakota. Since then, western North Dakota has undergone two more booms, the most recent from 2008 to 2014. Sixty Years of Boom and Bust republishes the 1958 report and updates its analysis by describing the impact of the latest boom on the region’s physical geography, politics, economics, and social structure.

Sixty Years of Boom and Bust addresses topics as relevant today as they were in 1958: the natural and built environment, politics and policy, crime, intergroup relations, and access to housing and medical services. In addition to making hard-to-find material readily available, it examines an area shaped by resource booms and busts over the course of six decades. As a result, it provides unprecedented insight into the patterns of develop- ment and the roots of the challenges the region has faced.

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