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WVU Press publishes first book in it’s Energy and Society series

November 29, 2016 by Abby Freeland, West Virginia University Press

Morgantown, W.Va. – West Virginia University Press has published Stephen C. Cote’s Oil and Nation: A History of Bolivia’s Petroleum Sector, the inaugural book in its Energy and Society series.

Oil and Nation WVUPress

Oil and Nation places petroleum at the center of Bolivia’s contentious 20th-century history. Bolivia’s oil, Cote argues, instigated the largest war in Latin America in the 1900s, provoked the first nationalization of a major foreign company by a Latin American state, and shaped both the course and the consequences of Bolivia’s transformative National Revolution of 1952. Oil and natural gas continue to steer the country under the government of Evo Morales, who renationalized hydrocarbons in 2006 and has used revenues from the sector to reduce poverty and increase infrastructure development in South America’s poorest country.

Myrna Santiago, author of The Ecology of Oil: Environment, Labor, and the Mexican Revolution, 1900-1938 declares “there is nothing like this book at all in English, so it will be a wonderful addition to the literature. It is well researched and documented, and the style makes for a comfortable read for undergraduates and an interested non-academic public too.”

The book advances chronologically from Bolivia’s earliest petroleum pioneers in the 19th century to the present, inserting oil into historical debates about Bolivian ethnic, racial and environmental issues, and within development strategies by different administrations. While Bolivia is best known for its tin mining, Oil and Nation makes the case that nationalist reformers viewed hydrocarbons and the state oil company as a way to modernize the country away from the tin monoculture and its powerful backers and toward an oil-powered future.

Cote obtained his PhD in Latin American history from the University of California, Davis, in 2011. He has taught history at Ohio University and Western Washington University, and he is currently employed by the National Park Service. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Unrestricted by borders, technology or discipline, the Energy and Society book series seeks to provide a space for the unfettered expansion of the discourse on the human relationship with energy: from the processes of developing fuels to the policies governing them; from the consumers who require energy to the governments that administer and seek it; and from the very way we define the idea of energy to promising frontiers of the future. Feeding off the development of the environmental humanities and the recognition of the Anthropocene epoch in Earth’s history, the editor and editorial board seek book-length manuscripts that cross national borders as well as boundaries of our understanding of energy in human life.

Series editor:
Brian Black is a professor in the departments of history and environmental studies at Penn State University, Altoona. He is the author of Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History _and _Petrolia: The Landscape of America’s First Oil Boom. Black has edited a number of collections and reference works, including Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science and History. His book Declaring Our Dependence: The Ecology of Petroleum in Twentieth Century American Life is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.

Publication date: December 2016
224pp/PB 978-1-943665-47-1: $26.99/CL 978-1-943665-46-4: $79.99/epub 978-1-943665-48-8: $26.99

To order this book, visit, phone 800.621.2736, or visit a local bookstore. To learn more about WVU Press, visit For updates on books and events, follow WVU Press on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest or join our mailing list on



CONTACT: Abby Freeland, sales and marketing director at West Virginia University Press

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