Robin Behl Contributed photo

LEWISTON — Robin Behl, a former physician assistant at Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute in Lewiston, plans to read from her new book, “Price Per Barrel: The Human Cost of Extraction.”

The reading is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon St.

This free, public program will also include a book sale and signing.

In “Price Per Barrel” — part travelogue, part mental health journey — Behl gives recognition to the human stories that exist throughout the repeated cycle of boom and bust that has shaped humanity’s movement across North America for the last 400 years. From the copper in cell phones to the oil that powers lives, and so much more in between, humans come together to dig, drill, and race for it, according to an event news release. In every community impacted by the extractive industries, there are working people who make sacrifices to care for their neighbors.

This book is broad in theme as a reflection of the breadth of work that first responders and healthcare workers do for their communities. Behl’s work shows evidence that first responders refuse to abandon their posts even when their towns are changing around them. They rise above their job descriptions, oftentimes putting aside their own post-traumatic stress disorder until the boom is over.

After spending years on the road, Behl tells the stories of the people she met on the front lines with the hope that people can more fully understand the price of extracting each barrel of oil or shovel of ore.


Behl grew up in southeastern New Mexico, where she got her first taste of emergency response as a volunteer firefighter just after graduating high school. With an early passion for helping people, she continued her service and training as a firefighter and EMT while in college.

She then spent 13 years in emergency services with a variety of agencies around the country, becoming a paramedic and dispatcher. She earned her masters degree in medicine at the University of New England and worked as a physician assistant in cardiovascular medicine for seven years.

Her love for remote northern climates and her insatiable wanderlust inspired “Price Per Barrel,” her first non-fiction book.

Behl left the practice of medicine and now works in documentary filmmaking, allowing her to tell stories in a whole new way. She is working on her next book, a critical look at medicine in the United States and what drives providers like her out of the field and into work they find more rewarding.

For more information, contact the LPL Adult & Teen Services desk at 207-513-3135 or [email protected].

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