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466Southwestern Historical QuarterlyApril and so includes a chapter explaining the background from the perspective of the Johnson administration. Utilizing extensive research in the LBJ Presidential Library files, Pauley also traces the authorship of the text. He revises the administration's contention diat LBJ played a major role in shaping the speech by convincingly arguing that Richard Goodwin and odier aides crafted die speech widiout presidential guidance. There are a few problems widi die book, however. Pauley worked so hard proving that LBJ had litde to do with the actual writing of die speech that it becomes problematic in a later chapter when he constandy refers to LBJ as the audior. Perhaps this is a common technique in rhetorical analysis, but I found it confusing and contradictory. More importandy, die main argument ofthe book seems vague. Was his point to reiterate die significance ofthe speech? Tb prove it was a great speech? To put it into its broader context? Ifthe latter, dien to what end? To a certain extent, Pauley attempts all of diese goals, but does not sufficiendy emphasize any one of them. He did, however, make me think about die speech in a different way than I had before. In that sense, Pauley accomplished what he set out to do. Texas State University-San ManosMary C. Brennan The OffshoreImperative: Shell Oil's SeanhforPetroleum in PostwarAmerica. ByTyler Priest. (College Station: TexasA&M University Press, 2007. Pp. 332. Illustrations, map. Graph, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-1-58544-568-4. $39.95, cloth.) Tyler Priest boldly states that "Shell Oil was the undisputed leader in moving oil and gas exploration and production operations into deep waters" (p. xi). This unqualified statement shapes The Offshore Imperative. Using extensive interviews, internal publications, newsletters, technical papers, and publications such as the Oil and GasJournal, Priest weaves a well-documented story about the evolution and growth of Shell Oil, the American subsidiary of Royal Dutch/Shell. Priest sketches the early history of Royal Dutch/Shell, bringing the reader up to the end of World War II with abbreviated stories about such issues as the Tidelands dispute and the anti-trust legislation that threatened Shell's ability to operate in the U.S. Finally, he leads the reader to understand that Shell Oil was caught in a power squeeze as its onshore production declined and the parent company, Royal Dutch/Shell, enforced a gentleman's agreement preventing Shell Oil from exploring in Asia or Europe. This agreement left Shell with only one place to search: the Gulf of Mexico. Priest begins his argument by describing how Shell built research laboratories in Houston and New Orleans. In these secret laboratories, Shell invented the technology to find and produce oil—especially oil in ever-deeper locations around the Gulf. First, Shell's researchers improved their seismic technology. Next widi the help of marine engineers, Shell built experimental floating platforms to house drilling rigs capable ofdrilling in deeper waters. Finally, Shell geologists improved the chances of hitting oil by pinpointing hydrocarbon "bright spots" in geologic formations (p. 130). Using diese revolutionary technologies, Shell surged ahead ofother companies and made Shell the leader in deep water exploration and pro- 2??8Book Reviews467 duction during the 1 950s and 1 960s. Then, after failures in Alaska and elsewhere, Shell returned to the Gulf in the 1980s and continued exploring and producing in even deeper areas of the Gulf. Priest becomes a storyteller as he explains that Shell led the way into "deep water . . . drilling, . . . production, . . . and subsea completions" (p. 99). The story carries the reader ahead with anecdotes about the Bay Marchand blowout and other stirring events. Finally, Priest artfully weaves Shell's successes and failures into an explanation of how Shell eventually disappeared as a distinct operating company. Despite die fact that this is an exciting narrative, several problems limited the book's effectiveness. Aldiough originally hired to write a sponsored narrative, Priest completed the book after Shell withdrew its support. However, the original project haunts the book as Priest introduces a multitude of Shell engineers, researchers, and managers to the reader. Priest also includes information diat is not germane to his argument, such as stories about the social upheavals of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 466-467
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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