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Out of the Channel
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound
John Keeble




Eastern Washington University
1999 • 384 pp. 6 x 9 1/4"
Conservation / American History / Exxon Valdez


$26.00 Hardcover, 978-0-910055-54-3



“Caught in a net of glossy lies and suppressed information (kept secret by Exxon for use in upcoming, private lawsuits), the residents respond to the... [continued in Reviews below]”—Rick Bass, The Los Angeles Times

An examination of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Prince William Sound by John Keeble.

Ten years later, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound remains the largest tanker spill in the history of North America, and in its devastating effects upon wildlife and habitat, arguably the most damaging tanker spill in the history of the world. First released in 1992, John Keeble's account, Out of the Channel, combined on-the-scene witnessing of the oil spill's lethal results with analysis of its ramifications upon ecology, community, economy, law, the nature of public information, and upon the American mythos. The aftermath of the oil spill, and no less transforming, the spill of Exxon's money and power, reached into every sector of Alaskan life as well as into the conscience of the people of the lower forty-eight states. The event is now seen as one of a handful of signal ecological disasters of the twentieth century.

The new "Tenth Anniversary" edition of Out of the Channel adds to its evocative, original text as new and full assessment of the permutations and twists of big money, big litigation, and "petroleum speak" from the vantage point of several years' remove, as well as an account of the 1991, $1 billion civil settlement between Exxon, the U.S. Justice Department, and the State of Alaska—the largest such environmental settlement ever. In this now definitive book on the oil spill, all the primary concerns of the first edition are updated with new material, including the cause of the ship's grounding on Bligh Reef, the long lasting effects of the spill, the projected death toll among animals, the little-known 1993 fishermen's tanker blockade, late-developing evidence about the quantity of oil spilled, the benefits and abuses of professional science, as well as the heartening results of citizen pressure to improve oil shipping procedures in Prince William Sound and to protect fragile habitat.

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Reviews / Endorsements

". . . Caught in a net of glossy lies and suppressed information (kept secret by Exxon for use in upcoming, private lawsuits), the residents respond to the spill with tears and nausea. His [Keeble's] novelist's eye searches steadily for small bright spots of courage and determination to counterbalance the evasion and environmental devastation. . . . Because Keeble confronts Exxon's deceptions with childlike wonder rather than hardened rancor, we leave this book with the hopeful feeling that a new start might still be possible."—Rick Bass, The Los Angeles Times

"Mr. Keeble's ability to find ironies in catastrophe may be his greatest contribution to the tanker of words spilled over the Exxon Valdez."—Timothy Egan, New York Times Book Review

"[Keeble] is surely right . . . in lamenting the public's failure to heed the spill as a call to re-examine our national oil addiction. The Gulf War has offered us a harrowing second chance, and Out of the Channel stands as a powerful exhortation against missing it."—Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post

"A grave and intelligent account of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. John Keeble's astute observation, not just of the scene, but of its historical and moral surround, is far more than reportage. His rendering of an occurrence that was covered sensationally and incoherently by mass media is a great service; his decent, careful treatment of Captain Hazelwood's role in the spill is alone worth the book."—Stephanie Mills, Whole Earth Review



JOHN KEEBLE, novelist and non-fiction writer, is also the author of Crab Cannon, Mine (with Ransom Jeffrey), Yellowfish, and Broken Ground. He is a professor of Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University.



Sat, 2 Dec 2017 12:04:58 -0500