Tulsa, the "Oil Capital of the World": Background information when reading A Map of Tulsa

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A Map of Tulsa

A Novel

by Benjamin Lytal

A Map of Tulsa
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  • Paperback:
    Mar 2013, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
Tulsa, the "Oil Capital of the World"

vintage postcardIn A Map of Tulsa, the protagonist Jim Praley, can't ignore the city's relationship with oil. His girlfriend, Adrienne Booker, is born into a wealthy oil family and Jim remembers "an issue of National Geographic my dad kept, from the '78 oil crisis. Tulsa was on the cover, an aerial photograph of the refineries, lit up like a metropolis at night," he says. Tulsa has boasted of the moniker "oil capital of the world" although whether it still qualifies, is a point that is open for debate.

It was towards the end of the nineteenth century, in 1897, that the Nellie Johnstone well blew in Bartlesville, 40 miles north of Tulsa. The Red Fork and Glen Pool gushers were discovered shortly thereafter and the city, which started publishing the Oil & Gas Journal in 1902, firmly established itself as the Oil Capital of the World. By 1907, around 100 oil companies had made Tulsa their base. The city's access to ready transportation and its scenic beauty were inviting to many ...

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