NOW AVAILABLE! The second book in the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series -- OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades -- brings the story of the families from the end of The Great War into the 1950s:
OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second historical novel in the multivolume saga, brings to life the mid-20th Century as the United States emerges as an oil power and a superpower. Trabish once again uses a matriarch's remembrance of oil industry families over three generations and weaves hard fact with adventure, romance and melodrama.
From post-World War I Paris where the peace talks created the modern world to jazz age New York City, roaring 20s Chicago and oil boom Oklahoma, Jacques LeFash Livingstone discovers oil’s secrets, runs from anything to do with oil, marries, has a son and finds himself an oil baron despite his best efforts.
In pre-World War II Washington, D.C., Victoria Wade Bridger, Lady North, accepts a diplomat’s request to help American oil men explore in Saudi Arabia and, as a result, gets herself and her dearest friend caught up in espionage and the darkest moments of World War II.
After slogging with the American infantry across World War II Europe, Monty Livingstone gives up his dream of being a spy for his country and goes to work for Big Oil until, in early 1950s Iran, he is unexpectedly recruited into the Cold War. Suddenly, everything from his adolescence in the Oklahoma oil fields to a lost love in Berlin to his training by an MI-6 operative matters if he is to finish his CIA assignment.
Just like in The Story of Our Addition, Trabish’s lean, muscular prose and relentless storytelling drills into every incident for a better understanding of metaphysical and stark cold truths about love, family and the dark commodity that drives our world.
by Mark S. Friedman
OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
The American Decades is from the author of the widely-praised historical novel:
Get ready for an exciting read!
"A great yarn! A spoonful of story helps the history go down." (Richard Marks, veteran Hollywood attorney)
"The sense of historicity felt accurate." (Mark Kaplan, Instructor, Santa Monica College)
"What an imagination!" (Teri H., Burbank, CA)
"A great writer!" (Cindy M., Austin, TX)
"I just kept reading and getting more into it!" (Nancy F., Wst L.A., CA)
"Stories inside stories inside a story. Wow!" (Abby S., Washington, D.C.)
OIL IN THEIR BLOOD is a matriarch's remembrance of two oil industry families over three generations. In it, we see the odysseys of men who searched out and fought for oil and women who loved them, worked alongside them and learned to love or hate or just live with the oil world.
In Pennsylvania, as the Civil War ends, oil industry pioneers Barrett Lithachik, Theresa Baxter and Johannes Stonagall fight to control the commodity, own the infrastructure and win the wealth.
In the 1890s New York City of the Standard Oil barons, Jack Stonagall of the second generation fights corruption and suffers romantic tragedy as he takes the trade global.
Caught in the terrible horrors of World War I Europe, Sam Wade of the third generation learns what mature love—and oil—really mean to the emerging modern world.
This historical novel, the first in a multivolume saga of oil's history as it plays out in the generations of these two families, is a tour of the world's oil regions from Pennsylvania to Baku to Mesopotamia to Indonesia to Persia to Romania, and the book drills into its every incident for a better understanding of the dark commodity that drives our world. In lean, muscular prose and through relentless storytelling, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD weaves hard fact with adventure, romance and melodrama to explore the metaphysical and stark cold truths about love, family, oil and modern society's addiction to it.
by Mark S. Friedman
“…ours is a culture of energy illiterates.” (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish’s style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
The book is the answer an oil family’s matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president’s personal career.
There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish’s repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until—unexpectedly—he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, “…may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won’t be so surprised.”