Eroica: The Quest for Oil in Indonesia (1850-1898)

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A tribute to the pioneers of oil exploration in Indonesia (1850-1898). Using authentic reports, diaries, relevant texts, personal notes and pictures, Poley brings to life the heroic efforts of Reerink (Cheribon, W. Java), Zijlker and Kessler (Deli, NE Sumatra), Stoop (Surabaya and Rembang, E Java), Menten (Kutei, E Kalimantan), Kessler and IJzerman (Palembang, SE Sumatra), and their crews. They faced almost insurmountable odds in many locations: an impenetrable, cruel jungle, an inclement climate, tropical diseases, technical mishaps, financial restrictions, and, last but not least, government and legal constraints. There was no geological science to guide them, and drilling technology was still in its infancy. Yet it was their vision and perseverance which finally put Indonesia on the world map of oil-producing nations, and which contributed materially to the development of today's life of luxury. Much of the present text and several of the pictures are here presented for the first time to the general public.