Exceptionally well written, exceptionally candid, impressively informative, and a simply riveting read from cover to cover, Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil: A Wildcatter’s Memories of Hunting for Black Gold is unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography collections. – October 2018 issue of Small Press Bookwatch

oil book“Most books about the oil patch usually fall into one of two categories,” noted Robert Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, in a comment on the back cover of the 234-page Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil, published in August 2018. “The first are tributes to the ‘greatest gamblers.’ The others are tomes about the earth sciences. Rarely do we get a full-bodied peek into real life in the oil patch.”

Blackburn added that the book’s author, Thomas E. Cochrane, produced “a fast-paced and lyrical stroll through several decades of searching for oil and gas, punctuated with stories about the greatest gamblers, and insights into petroleum geology.” Another reviewer, Will Schweller, past president of the Northern California Geological Society, said this about Cochrane:

“His descriptions of his co-workers and how they put together deals is something that very few people in the modern oil and gas companies have much or any experience with. He gives apparently frank accounts of how many projects didn’t work out as well as a few that did, so I give him lots of credit for not exaggerating his successes and being honest about how hard it was to make a living doing what he did. I enjoyed reading the author’s experiences in the Oklahoma oil patch. ”

Cochrane, a longtime member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and former editor of “The Shale Shaker,” the journal of the Oklahoma City Geological Society, continues to work as a consulting geologist in his coastal region of Northern California. Cochrane is in his 80s. The former teacher also is author of Shaping the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast – Exploring the Coastal Geology of Northern California, a regional bestseller.


The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Support this AOGHS.ORG energy education website with a contribution today. For membership information, contact bawells@aoghs.org. © 2018 Bruce A. Wells.

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