Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea

Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea, about which many of you have been hearing for a couple of years, will be out from Pantheon on October 18. I will talk about the book that night at 7:30 at Town Hall in Seattle, and on KUOW with Steve Scher that morning at 9:00. In the Pacific Northwest, I’ll also be at Village Books in Bellingham at noon on October 20th, and Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island at 3:00 p.m. on the 23rd.

The pre-publication reviews of the book are encouraging.

Kirkus calls it “A searing indictment of human greed mixed with memorable sagas of death and survival.”

Publishers Weekly said “With the same meticulous research employed in books on sea explorer Jacques Cousteau and the mysteries of the oceans, Brad Matsen takes on the devastating 1988 Piper Alpha oil rig tragedy. In the end, this remarkable book is a stunning tribute to the survivors and their families, who banded valiantly together against the corporate giant, Occidental Petroleum, which absolved itself of all blame in the costly event.”
Other writers liked the book:
“Matsen’s horrifyingly readable account of the 1988 oil rig explosion that killed more than 160 people is a terrible reminder that the activity of extracting oil—and coal, and gas—has always included death as just a cost of doing business.” —Carl Safina, author of A Sea In Flames and The View From Lazy Point
“Death and Oil masterfully reveals the terrible human toll of our petroleum dependency. By taking us aboard the Piper Alpha oil rig and into the lives of its doomed men, its heroes and its haunted survivors, Brad Matsen has given us narrative history at its best and a cautionary tale for our time.” — Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Lost in Shangri-La
“Matsen’s extraordinary and captivating account of the Piper Alpha catastrophe makes visible the terrible price we pay for oil. It offers a compelling look into the embattled lives of men who spend their lives on the verge of an emergency, and shows us what happens when a place of work—in truth a war zone—becomes an inferno in an instant.” —Rikki Ducornet, author of the novels Netsuke and Gazelle

Death and Oil is available at bookstores, libraries, and online


Pantheon Books:


2 Responses to “Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea”

  1. 1 gary kerr February 7, 2012 at 3:45 am

    l would like to know if this masterful author ever stood on a rig pigs helipad

    • 2 gary kerr February 7, 2012 at 3:56 am

      anyone who attempts to find employment on a rig is aware of the dangers that are inherent with the bonuses that come —payment sometimes do not justify it but they still follow that path for what ever reason. Don’t get me wrong, those who put themselves in that position are chasing $$$$ most of the time, but the adventurous ones, as was the case with me, were wet behind the ears. Safety has progressed, but some are still complacent

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