The Iron Orchard by Tom Pendleton

The Iron Orchard

Tom Pendleton has written the best historical fiction on the Texas oil Industry. He wrote it so long ago it got forgotten by most and found itself out of print.  When I first heard that someone had bought the rights and was making a film, I was not only thrilled, but searched for a copy of the book. Finding it out of print, the only copies were used and listed at $499 each. I love to read, but even for me that is steep.  Fortunately for all of us, the book has been reprinted and is out in force!

Following the fictional character of Jim McNeely through his journey from the bottom of the oil industry up through the upper echelon, the book takes you on a wild ride of dangerous, dirty, tricky wheeling and dealing in the fields of Texas.  The money is beyond defining, the work for the those on the rigs life threatening and hardly living, the stakes high and the chances low. This is gambling like you’ve never seen before. Jim is driven to prove that he can rise above his beginnings and make it in the oil business.  He spends every extra minute studying everything, from the machines used for drilling to the findings of geologists, to increase his chances of hitting the oil field of his dreams.

Pendleton writes of a very real part of Texas history.  He demonstrates that there were crooks and moral men among the great Oilmen of Texas, but regardless, they were a different breed of men all together.  The risks they took, the way in which they were willing to gamble, the control they had is all here for the reader to enjoy. If you have any interest in Texas history or the oil business this is the book you should read.  

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