Northern Wilds Magazine

“Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil”

fack_opt~s250x500“Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil”

By Lisa Westberg Peters

Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2014

Lisa Westberg Peters writes a personal exploration/investigation into land that her grandfather once owned near Williston, ND, which is now in the heart of the oil boom. Peters’ family still holds mineral rights to the land.

Through interviews and extensive research, Peters learns how her grandfather’s land purchases near Williston in the 1940s reflect four generations of creative risk-taking in her father’s Swedish immigrant family. She explores the ties between frac sand mining on the St. Croix River and the halting, difficult development of North Dakota’s oil, locked in shale two miles down and pursued since the 1920s.

Catapulted into a world of complicated legal jargon, spectacular feats of engineering, and rich history, Peters travels to the oil patch and sees both the wealth and the challenges brought by the boom.

For anyone interested in the recent events in Western North Dakota where the oil boom has changed the landscape, the economy and the social fabric of the place, this is a great read: a personal take on the situation and informational at the same time.—Erin Altemus

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