A Reference Handbook
by David E. Newton
January 2015, 340pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-691-3
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-692-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Due to fracking, America is now the world’s largest producer of natural gas.

The use of fracking is a tremendously important technology for the recovery of oil and gas, but the advantages and costs of fracking remain controversial. This book examines the issues and social, economic, political, and legal aspects of fracking in the United States.

Hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells—known commonly as “fracking”—has been in use in the United States for more than half a century. In recent years, however, massive expansion of shale gas fracturing across the nation has put fracking in the public eye. Is fracking a “win win” like its proponents say, or are there significant costs and dangers associated with the use of this energy production technology?

This book examines fracking from all angles, addressing the promise of the United States becoming energy independent through the use of the process to tap the massive amounts of natural gas and oil available as well as the host of problems associated with fracking—groundwater contamination and increased seismic activity, just to mention two—that raise questions about the long-term feasibility of the process as a source of natural gas.

The first part of the book provides a historical background of the topic; a review of technical information about fracking; and a detailed discussion of the social, economic, political, legal, and other aspects of the current fracking controversy. The second part of the book provides a host of resources for readers seeking to learn even more in-depth information about the topic, supplying a chronology, glossary, annotated bibliography, and profiles of important individuals and organizations. Written specifically for students and young adults, the content is accessible to readers with little or no previous knowledge regarding fracking.


  • Provides readers with a complete historical review of the origins, development, and expansion of the use of fracking
  • Explains the technical principles related to the use of fracking in clear, nontechnical language
  • Presents an unbiased review of the arguments for and against the use of fracking for the recovery of oil and gas
  • Supplies a summary of the history of the use of fracking in the United States
David E. Newton, EdD, has been a freelance writer of nonfiction books and ancillary materials for young adults for nearly 55 years. He has published more than 400 textbooks, research manuals, trade books, encyclopedias, and encyclopedia articles as well as lab manuals, problems books, and other publications. His published work includes ABC-CLIO's Wind Energy: A Reference Handbook; World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook; and Vaccination Controversies: A Reference Handbook. Newton was formerly a teacher of high school science and mathematics in Grand Rapids, MI; professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College; and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. He holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University as well as a bachelor's degree in chemistry (with high distinction) and a master's degree in education from the University of Michigan.


"Although written for students and young adults, this book is accessible for all readers and is recommended for public and school libraries."—Booklist, June 9, 2015

"This is a strong and timely choice for an undergraduate or public library reference collection. . . . [I]t will work well as a lower-level introduction to the topic. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, lower-level undergraduates."—Choice, July 23, 2015

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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