Book details

Crude Awakening

Money, Mavericks, and Mayhem in Alaska

By Amanda Coyne, By Tony Hopfinger

  • ISBN13: 9781568584478
  • Pub Date: 11/08/2011 | Price: $26.99 / $31.50 CAN
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Trim: 6.50 x 9.50 Inches | 304 Pages
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About the Book

Crude Awakening is the rollicking story of politics in America’s last frontier and oil province—Alaska, the nation’s most wild and mysterious state, where politics and oil blurred on the day wildcatters struck it big in 1968. Living in a northern Never Land, where oil companies and the federal government kept the state living high and wild, a handful of players ran the show. Among them were the late Sen. Ted Stevens and oilman Bill Allen, the Tony Soprano of Alaska who controlled the political machine until the FBI arrived to root out corruption, only to be accused of playing as dirty as those they were investigating. These characters and events paved the way for Sarah Palin’s rise to fame and fall from glory in Alaska. Authors Amanda Coyne and Tony Hopfinger chart the epic tale of these three characters, set in a state of soaring hopes, fading dreams, drying oil fields and an uncertain future.

About the Author

Amanda Coyne is co-founder of AlaskaDispatch, an online news site devoted to covering the state. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, and The Guardian. She lives in Anchorage.

Tony Hopfinger has reported on Alaska politics and oil since coming to the state in 1999. He is the co-founder and executive editor of Alaska Dispatch. He lives in Anchorage.


Seattle Times
“There’s been lots written about Palin since [she ran for governor in 2006], but what makes this book worth reading is that it is written by Alaskans, about Alaskans and with an inside view of what a different place it is.”

Ben Stein, Washington Times
Crude Awakening is a breathtakingly fine book on the history of oil in the complex state of Alaska…. [A] magisterial work of history. It gives me an idea of just how foolhardy people in Alaska can be – and also how kind and welcoming and supportive. It also tells me that there is a new generation of historians out there who will be able to keep up fine, meticulously detailed history-writing, presented in a compellingly readable way…. If you want to understand the power of the King Kong of minerals, oil, once it is awakened, captured and carried back to the mainland, do not miss this book, or the movie that is sure to follow. This is simply fantastic work.”

Library Journal
“Politics is said to be a volatile, sticky, primordial, black muck. So is oil. Coyne and Hopfinger give us the rundown, via three particular Alaskans, on the murky politics of oil in Alaska…. Ably and temperably told by authors who know Alaska…, this is a valuable study to understanding the Last Frontier, the oil business, or Palin.”

Joe Conason, author of The Hunting of the President: The 10 Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth
Crude Awakening is a marvelously lyrical yet rigorous narrative of Alaska’s awakening to the corruption spawned by its enormous natural wealth. It’s a story told through the lives of three remarkable characters: oil kingpin Bill Allen, political boss Ted Stevens, and the state’s self-proclaimed savior, Sarah Palin.”