While hobnobbing with movie stars and presidents, the Big Rich also created the legend of the swaggering Texas oilman with island hideaways and sprawling ranches.
©2009 Bryan Burrough; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"John Dunning is a master." (USA Today)
I have been in the oil and gas industry for over 25 years and now live in Houston. Thus, the story was interesting to me at first. About 3/4 of the way through the reading, I began to lose interest. If you are not in the business or not a Texan, then this book may bore you.
I had heard of many of the people and happenings that were covered in this book. However, I didn't know the details and how the people fitted together. This book put things in perspective and made a fascinating overview. Highly recommended!!
This is a fun tour. It's particularly strong on the early years of H.L. Hunt, Roy Murchison and Sid Richardson (the Bass family founder). The book loses its way a bit with the big detour through the Glenn McCarthy story (which deserves its own book). The main problem with the book is Burrough's strident liberal political correctness. It's "ultra-conservative" this and "ultra-conservative" that over and over again. Burroughs can't fathom why any of these people, whom he otherwise admires, might not be political liberals, and he gives one ludicrous sociological explanation after another to account for it. The answer, of course, is that all of these folks were men and women of their times and were very much in the mainstream of their era. There is also the possibility that people like H.L Hunt, who were right about quite a few things where others were not, might possibly have been right about most of their political views, as well. That America MIGHT owe them a debt of gratitude. Burroughs thinks such an idea ludicrous. The men were political laughingstocks, he says over and over again. But if you can make it through the cloying apologies to his political masters (his editor and the reviewers, one supposes), the remainder of the book is a wonderful romp through a fascinating epoch of American history. And there are quite a few ecstatic, sordid, weird and wild moments along the way, from H.L. Hunt's THREE families (he was nearly a TRI-gamist!) to the great moments of long-delayed validation for the oilman's oilman, Sid Richardson. The book wanders thematically a bit through the stories of the second and third generations, but there are some good tales there as well, and we find out what ultimately happened to all those oil fortunes and what the descendants did with what was one of the biggest piles of loot in human history. Ultimately, I recommend this. Burroughs tells a good, long story well.
I really enjoyed the narration from James Jenner, often some of these audio books are monotone in delivery but he really conveyed the character of the people discussed in the book.
The historical perspective and story telling is the strongest part of Burrough's writings and although I'm not particularly conservative myself I found political and character analysis the weakest part of the book. Not to undermine that I appreciate the great effort of the writing, however I think at least for the audio format the story became too long and felt a little rambling.
Historical and Accurate.
I don't live in Texas now, but ah the memories it brought back and ones I never knew. Did you know that during the Great Depression, the East Texas Oil Fields were booming and work was plentiful.
Thsi goes over the nail biting deals, debt and fortunes made during this days. A very exciting historical book. I highly recommend it.
Excellent book... Well written well narrated and covering an amazing story. As a non Texan I had never heard much about these guys.
If you are a lover of contemporary Texas history, you will love this story of those who helped shape the 20th and 21st centuries in Texas, for better and for worse.
Say something about yourself!
In comparison to the cost of this book, the material is lacking. I felt the book was hardly more than headlines to the underlying story.
Maybe but I would never pay this much for another book by him. He is a dadgum long way from having my admiration but his style was worthy.
He was okay; not impressionable, only mediocre.
Yes to hopefully watch the plot develop on a Paul Harvey standard, i.e., "the rest of the story."
I wouldn't recommend the book. There are some interesting facts which were previously unknown to me but overall, it was substantially boring.
Yes, such a wealth of knowledge it was hard to soak it all up
Kept me engaged in this history lesson from cover to cover
I am new to the Texas oil culture and was recommended to read two books: The Big Rich & The Frackers. Each book has been invaluable in understanding the [oil & gas] history, past & current, and the influence on Houston, on Texas, and on the nation.
Definitely worth the read for anyone new to the oil & gas industry and I’m sure valuable for y’all that already think you aced 7th grade Texas history class.
Intriguing, Exciting, Tragic
The Clint Merchison family and the creation of the Dallas Cowboys.
No, I have not.
It made me feel compassion for the tragic fall from power two of these four families experienced.
Very informative and entertaining.
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