“A rare, honest, beautiful, and, yes, sometimes heartbreaking examination of the echoes of water-powered natural gas drilling—or fracking—in the human community . . . vivid, personal and emotional.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
Susquehanna County, in the remote northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, is a community of stoic, low-income dairy farmers and homesteaders seeking haven from suburban sprawl—and the site of the Marcellus Shale, a natural gas deposit worth more than one trillion dollars. In The End of Country, journalist and area native Seamus McGraw opens a window on the battle for control of this land, revealing a conflict that pits petrodollar billionaires and the forces of corporate America against a band of locals determined to extract their fair share of the windfall—but not at the cost of their values or their way of life. Rich with a sense of place and populated by unforgettable personalities, McGraw tells a tale of greed, hubris, and envy, but also of hope, family, and the land that binds them all together.
“To tell a great story, you need a great story. Seamus McGraw . . . has lived a great story. . . . [He] is just one of its many characters—very real characters—caught up in a very human story in which they must make tough, life-altering decisions for themselves, their community, and ultimately their country.”—Allentown Morning Call
“Compelling . . . The End of Country is like a phone call from a close friend or relative living smack-dab in the middle of the Pennsylvania gas rush. . . . Anyone with even a passing interest in the [fracking debate should] read it.”—Harrisburg Patriot-News
“This cautionary tale should be required reading for all those tempted by the calling cards of easy money and precarious peace of mind.”—Tom Brokaw
“A page-turner . . . McGraw brings us to the front lines of the U.S. energy revolution to deliver an honest and humbling account that could hardly possess greater relevance.”—The Humanist
About the Author
Seamus McGraw is a full-time writer who has seen his work published in "Playboy," "Reader s Digest," "Penthouse," "Radar," "Spin," and "The Forward." He has received the Freedom of Information Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors, as well as honors from the Casey Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalists. McGraw is currently working on a documentary trailer about his family s experiences with the Marcellus shale. He grew up pitching hay and spreading manure on the same fields the gas companies are now prospecting. He still lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with his wife and four children."
Praise for The End of Country
“[An] impressively detailed, highly engaging look at issues of energy policy, economics, and sociology that arose when a bucolic town was suddenly faced with the ‘traveling circus’ of energy exploration. McGraw presents a rich history of the economics and geopolitics of energy as well as a fascinating cast of characters . . . A completely engaging look at how energy policy affected a quiet, rural town.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Deeply personal, sometimes moving, sometimes funny, The End of Country lays out the promises and the perils faced not just by the people of one small Pennsylvania town but by our whole nation.”—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“The End of Country is an elegantly written and unsettling account of what can happen when big energy companies come calling in rural America. This cautionary tale should be required reading for all those tempted by the calling cards of easy money and precarious peace of mind. The result too often is bitter feuds, broken dreams, a shattered landscape.”—Tom Brokaw
“This is an environmental tale on the surface, yet something more powerful lurks beneath the soil of this wonderful book. Seamus McGraw is really writing about the enduring complexities and contradictions of the United States. He goes beyond the easy stereotypes of greedy promoters preying on farmers and gives us the unvarnished truth about a twenty-first-century energy rush in a place we never expected it. This is tale told with heart, gusto, close observation, and sly humor—truly a remarkable memoir.”—Tom Zoellner, author of The Heartless Stone and Uranium
"This story is remarkably lively and full of heart. McGraw’s calm and coherent prose sails over hundreds of years of hopes and dreams in the Pennsylvania countryside, charting a uniquely American story in cinematic fashion, conjuring up images of country folk making a stand and looking out for their lineage."--Progressive Reader