Of Ice and Men

New Year’s Eve, 2012: With the world’s easy oil supplies tapped out, the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has made an urgent, $6 billion bet on finding new reserves in one of Earth’s wildest environments—the frigid Arctic Ocean off Alaska. But the hunt for extreme oil pushes the world's biggest company past its limits, and disaster strikes. An oil rig, the Kulluk, breaks loose on the high seas and begins drifting toward the rocks of remote Kodiak Island. As a winter storm builds, Coast Guard helicopters race to rescue its crew, and a local sailor fights to keep the rig off the rocks.

In the tradition of The Perfect Storm and In the Heart of the Sea, Of Ice and Men is not just the firsthand story of a maritime disaster. This short book is the definitive account of the mistakes that led up to it, the corners Shell and its contractors cut, the heroism that saved lives—and the heroism that could ultimately save neither the Kulluk nor Shell's Arctic dreams. National Magazine Award finalist McKenzie Funk, author of the 2014's Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, takes us from the remote edges of the American Arctic to the cockpits of the rescue helicopters to the boardrooms of the international oil industry and to Washington, D.C., where the push for “energy independence” can turn on the strength of a sailor’s knot—and on the fate of a runaway drill rig thousands of miles away.

Drawn from dozens of interviews in Alaska and hundreds of pages of Coast Guard reports and oil industry documents, Of Ice and Men takes us to the edge of the world with today’s energy explorers, whose quest for oil has stretched a line so long and thin from the rest of us that it threatens to snap.

Of Ice and Men (Kindle Single)

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