A new book on the life and impact of George Mitchell, a renowned Texas oil icon and who founded The Woodlands in the early 1970s, was unveiled Thursday during a swanky book signing ceremony and reading at The Glade Cultural Center.
The book — titled “George P. Mitchell: fracking, sustainability, and an unorthodox quest to save the planet” — was recently published in hardback form and was on sale during the event. It was written by Loren C. Steffy, who was a well-known and long-time business columnist for The Houston Chronicle before leaving the paper in 2013.
Steffy, who also wrote a book on the Exxon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, now works for Texas Monthly and also contributes columns and does interviews on various television networks.
Hosted at the Glade Cultural Center, which is also an art gallery and community space used for various events, almost 100 guests mixed and mingled while nibbling on tasty treats from Tris restaurant in The Woodlands and sipping wine. Steffy talked with many of the attendees, almost all of whom had some sort of connection or relationship to Mitchell.
Following an hour-long book signing segment, former township board Chairman Bruce Tough introduced Steffy and discussed how much Mitchell loved The Woodlands.
Steffy then did a reading and followed that with a question and answer session with attendees.
“Each chapter was an education,” Steffy said, while also thanking the Mitchell family for their gracious openness during the process. “(The Mitchells) were very supportive and that was gratifying.”
Mitchell, Steffy explained, was vested in the oil industry and was a fracking pioneer, but his true passion was the vision and later creation of The Woodlands, now considered one of the most prestigious master-planned communities in the United States.
Responding to a question from the audience about what industry Mitchell loved more, oil or community development and how had Mitchell juggled the two pursuits, Steffy said it was the creation of The Woodlands that was more special to Mitchell.
“He really just did what he always did, he kind of did both. It makes perfect sense for him,” Steffy said. “When he sold The Woodlands, it really bothered him.”
The book will be available for sale in a variety of places.