The editors of the Journal of American History think this an important moment to focus on the overpowering presence of petroleum and its by-products in many different areas of American life. Our consulting editors, Brian C. Black, Karen R. Merrill, and Tyler Priest, join us in hoping that these essays and the Web project that accompanies this special issue will prove valuable for our readers. The online component provides links to all of the articles, five maps—“Supply,” “Downstream,” “Environmental/Industrial Disaster,” “Political/Cultural,” and “International”—that situate important resources and events geographically. Readers will also find a link to our podcast interview with the consulting editors, an expansive list of online resources, and a gallery of images.



Oil and the American Century

by David S. Painter











ObjeImaging the “Devil’s Excrement”: Big Oil in Petroleum Cinema, 1940–2007cts of Police History

by Robert Lifset and Brian C. Black


Exxon and the Control of Oil

by Joseph A. Pratt










The Dilemmas of Oil Empire

by Tyler Priest