Bryan Burrough in The Big Rich has done readers of history a great service in bringing to life the rise and fall of the greatest oil fortunes. To understand Texas and the current oil debates, this volume offers wonderful insight. Bryan Burrough (as in Barbarians at the Gate, Public Enebmies, and Dragonfly) brings the oil era into clear focus and major players into view. This is capitalism in action as we will never see again. Fortunes were built and many were never envisioned. They were just men taking chances. The Hunts, Muirchisons, Richardsons, and Cullens - what a crew! Burrough brings them all to life. Well written in Burrough's style and read very well by James Jenner.
Most of the book is interesting and enjoyable but the author goes to pains to denigrate his subjects when he (the author) strays into political analysis and editorializing rather than biography. Describing one of his main characters as participating in "classic paranoid right wing fantasies" and then labeling him "stupid" is both inaccurate and unprofessional. The author completely fails to understand the politics in the era he describes. But, as poor as the political writing is, the biographical stories are excellent and well worth the time. I recommend the book.
I'm a Yankee that attended college in Texas in the late '70's and I experienced the last oil boom in Texas. This book starts at the beginning of the Texas oil boom and takes it past my time in TX to almost the present. I have read a lot of books on the Texas oil families and am a great fan of the people that developed Texas. This details each of the great oil families and it follows the oil finds and the great oil families from the beginning to the present. This is a GREAT listen and an amazing story of an amazing place and time in our history.