The research for this study began in the 1970s as an attempt to understand what was popularly known as the energy crisis. The nation's brief commitment to energy independence, triggered by the interruption of oil shipments to the United States by the Arab states of the Middle East, had an enormous impact on Colorado. This is a history of fossil fuels, and their role in shaping the history of one state.
The author visited libraries in the Rocky Mountain region to collect data about the development and utilization of coal, petroleum, natural gas, and oil from shale in Colorado. The professionals who staff those institutions deserve acknowledgment of their valuable assistance. Particularly helpful were the dedicated people at the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie; the Archives and Manuscripts Department, the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; the Western History Room, Pueblo Regional Library; the Arthur Lakes Library, Colorado School of Mines, Golden; the Government Documents Library and the Western Historical Collections of Norlin Library, the University of Colorado at Boulder; the Stephen H. Hart Library of the Colorado Historical Society, Denver; the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library, Denver; and the Boulder Public Library.