Our reading material for this month's book club meeting is The Black Giant: A History of the East Texas Oil Field and Oil Industry Skulduggery & Trivia by James M. Day.
The discovery of the Black Giant in 1930 was the largest oil strike in the U.S. at the time. Its gushers changed the face of the oil industry. Oilmen, promoters, oil patch workers, and the nation's unemployed streamed into the tiny hamlets of East Texas for their share, but they faced wars between "big oil" and independent oilmen, bootleg or "hot oil," martial law, and legalized price fixing.
Yet the Big Giant turned out to be the salvation of the drought-stricken farmers, helping in the fight against Germany and Japan, and making lots of folks "Texas rich." In The Black Giant, the characters, times, and oil industry skulduggery are recalled and explained in dozens of sidebars full of humorous facts and trivia.
The author, James M. Day, law professor at Washing College of Law, the American University, practiced oil and gas law for more than 35 years and focused on oil and gas matters during the Arab oil embargo for the U.S. Department of the Interior.