Blowout

Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
Narrated by: Rachel Maddow
Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History, Russia
5 out of 5 stars (7,063 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-One New York Times Best Seller

Big Oil and Gas versus democracy - winner take all

In 2010, the words "earthquake swarm" entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia - including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove - was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry. 

With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about how and why the Russian government hacked the 2016 US election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature."

Blowout is a call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on Earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, "Democracy either wins this one or disappears."

©2019 Rachel Maddow (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[Maddow] may be a popular, progressive news-and-commentary anchor on MSNBC, but it's not to be forgotten that she holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford and seems to devour whole libraries of data before breakfast each day.... Expect a tweetstorm as Maddow’s indictment of a corrupt industry finds readers - and it deserves many.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

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What listeners say about Blowout

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it's all about the oil

My first experience at listening to a book with audible. Rachel's new book was excellent and her reading it was an extra bonus. Blowout does a great job of of explaining how oil is the biggest influencer of our world. Not just economically but geopolitically also. The amoral way oil companies have influenced countries and contributed to the oppression of third world countries.

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everything is horrible. nothing is good.

I was offshore during some of these events she described, and have a pretty good understanding about what was happened. She described what they thought happened, before there was evidence. The evidence shows how a lot of her reporting is not correct. She choose to stick with the preliminary guesses, and not to update the story based on evidence.
With what I believe to be true, compared to what she was saying, I question if she is telling the whole story on things I am not so familiar with.

8 people found this helpful

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Best book ever on corruption at its oily core.

Rachael is a wonderful narrator of this important and believable expose of the rotten core beneath the oil and gas industry and all it supports. In many ways it explains so much so clearly, it is a true masterpiece.

8 people found this helpful

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chilling...

i lived sixty years of my life in Oklahoma. i have had family, friends and clients who have lived their entire lives in or on the fringes of the oil patch. i have witnessed and they have experienced the booms and busts of the oil patch. some of Madow's story i already knew, but i am shocked and stunned at how much was totally unknown to me. i have watched Madow enough to have great respect for her diligence, intellect and honesty, even when she occasionally comes close to going on a rant. i have learned that if i sit still and listen, i will almost always find her compelling and convincing. we are in really deep trouble here - way more than i had ever imagined

114 people found this helpful

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Brilliant, Terrifying and yet you Must listen...

If you are already familiar with the work of the brilliant Rachel Maddow, this book is a, ‘no- brainer’ choice for you. It contains her unique gift of thorough, precise research wrapped in her fascinating craft of, ‘story telling’ which is all refreshingly presented in outstanding writing. The story, while always interesting is truly heartbreaking and terrifying, yet Rachel manages to keep you coming along because on the one hand it’s like a shocking (but real life) horror movie and on the other hand you’re desperate for some hope that we (democracy, the planet) stand any chance at all. The added bonus of Rachel narrating her own work allows us to hear every nuance, just as she intended as she wrote it, and the effect is captivating. She still manages to make us laugh through our tears and instruct without preaching. Every single high school, college, book club, legislator and adult human should read this book - and then - show the world, “this is what democracy looks like”. Rachel Maddow is a national treasure and we’d better get it together and start listening to her. She’s on to the truth of it here and she’s lighting the way (hopefully via sunlight) for any reasonable person to learn, understand and then act, if we are to save ourselves, and the future of the planet. Listen to this book and then buy one for everyone you know. As with any real life story, it’s far more interesting than fiction and further, assuming you don’t work in the industry, and perhaps even if you do, you’ll be stunned to realize how much you don’t know about what you don’t know. Don’t pass up the chance to listen to Rachel explain how everything that’s happening right now is all connected and after you run though a few stages of grief you’ll find yourself well rewarded for listening because you’ll be so much more well informed and you got there by being thoroughly engaged and fascinated throughout the entire journey.

108 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I love the Rachel Maddow show and how Rachel builds to her endings but this book goes on forever with way toooo many details about the oil industry and Russian interference than is needed to make her final points. While extremely well researched and written I thought it was very boring and painfully long. I stuck with it to the end hoping it would have some big bombshell ending but it just crept to the end.

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boring and slow<br />

terrible was really let down. for some one appears to be smart this was dull and uneventful.

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I live in Oklahoma

Thank God for Rachel Maddow. I live in Oklahoma and I remember one winter Propane shot up to 4.00 a gallon. It took everything I had to just stay warm that winter. I now know why... God bless you Rachel and all that you are and do. You my dear are a national treasure. Thank you for writing this book.

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More than I ever wanted to know about oil and gas.

I never had an interest in knowing anything about the oil and gas companies and I was perfectly happy not thinking about Russia in my daily life. Unfortunately my life has been turned into an ugly reality show I never wanted or watched. Since RM can explain anything in such a way that I can understand, I thought it was time to to be schooled. I gritted my teeth and listened to her melodious voice weave me a despicable B grade horror story of corruption . Thank you Tillerson and Putin for your absolute greed so great that we could no longer look away. Thank You Rachel Maddow for telling a story that we all need to hear.

41 people found this helpful

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Must Read

I was born and raised in west Texas (direction not city) and I know the oil life. The impact the oil industry has on our communities appears is different conversation. This book gives insight on how it is all connected and how sad and destructive it is.

Oil and power makes me think of what my dad would say to me as a young kid, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”.

Thank you for doing your research and making sure it is accurate.

57 people found this helpful

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  • LindaS
  • 10-06-19

Excellent

Very well researched and presented
Everyone who cares about the planet, democracy and openness should read or listen to this book

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  • Mr. Jr Baker
  • 07-22-20

Brilliant and essential

Extremely well researched and written. Opened my eyes to corruption and wrong doing in Russia and the oil industry. It should and probably will make you mad but it joins dots that really need joining and now it's up to us to make sure politicians get control back and protect our democracy.

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  • S. Simpson
  • 06-20-20

Inciteful expose

Brilliantly written and narrated. If only everyone could listen to this and take note! Can't wait for whatever Rachel explores next.

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  • Graeme Edwards
  • 02-17-20

Very long for what it was

I have been an avid watcher of TRMS for well over 10 years (I am a UK citizen based in the UK), and love it. So I was surprised to end up so disappointed with this book. Many parts of it just washed over me and I felt it could have been a lot more concise.

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  • Zak Choudhury
  • 02-05-20

We know Russia did it - Rachel explains why

Fantastic book in both content and composition. Reading by author is great.

I found myself making notes for use in my professional work.

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  • Rob Merry
  • 01-29-20

Compelling, surprisingly interesting & very worrying

A brilliantly written book read superbly by the author herself. I never thought I would be interested by the world of oil & gas (I mean, c’mon) but the pathway between that industry, the corruption of governments and officials, all the detriment of the people. All the people. Everywhere. The question left is what do we do now?

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  • Coebus
  • 12-09-19

Powerful book

An atomic bomb of a book! Spot on Rachel! This book has so many insightful stories that explain the impact of the oil industries in politics and environmental issues.

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  • MR ROBERT D HUTTON
  • 11-19-19

Brilliant story telling and a real eye opener

Brilliantly written and narrated, lots of interwoven stories about the oil industry that explain a lot about the world we live in today and the challenge we face if we want to shift away from our addiction to fossil fuels. It could have been a dry topic but the author's humour made it a really enjoyable listen.

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  • Michael
  • 11-15-19

Maddow at her best

I absolutely loved this. Rachel Maddow exposes the history of misdeeds by the energy industry with an amazing mix of humour and scholarly precision. It does for oil and gas what The Bean Counters does for accountancy.

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  • Moneenroe
  • 11-14-19

What a story.

Well done Rachel Maddow. Top class. Its a revelation. Everyone should read this. So informative.

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  • Allan Cumming
  • 10-16-19

Brilliant

The interwoven threads of this book and the complex nature of the topic would suggest that this would be a turgid read. Nothing could be more wrong. The book is clear and convincing, and when you add in the author’s own narration with her style that many will already be familiar with, the whole book becomes a tour de force. This is the best non-fiction I have listened to for a long time.

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  • Natalia Smith
  • 10-13-19

In-depth, informed and interesting.

I always love when Maddow connects a bunch of dots I never knew were connected, and this deep (very deep) dive into the oil and gas industry is chock full of those connecting dots. Loved it.

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  • A. Hulett
  • 10-09-19

Who would have thought that a non-fiction book about oil and gas could be more gripping than a spy novel????

Every chapter is more captivating than the last and Rachel Maddow’s flawless narration makes this stunning exposé of the oil and gas industry (and Russia’s pivotal role both in this and in world politics) seem frighteningly easy to understand. This is the first book that I’m going to listen to in its entirety immediately after finishing my first go-through. And I’m buying the print version for those of my nearest and dearest who don’t subscribe to Audible.
Required reading for everyone who wants to understand the dire threats to our planet, our society and our political systems.

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  • Annabelle
  • 10-07-19

Rachel didn’t disappoint

Great read - huge fan of Rachel’s- fabulous investigative reporter who is passionate and has a great narrative approach and her humour is the best

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-19-20

Greatly Narrated by R. Maddow and incredibly important in these times.

It’s a great story, listening to it in 2020 only makes it sound like a ringing in the ears of a warnings no one listened to.

Author explains very simply and direct many issues with Oil and its consequences both social and environmental.

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  • Crispin
  • 04-17-20

How bad is the oil industry? Read this

I always knew the oil industry was bad, but not this bad. Maddow uses mountains of evidence to indict the oil industry.

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  • Karen Sebire
  • 12-16-19

Wow. How much I learned!

This book is a real eye opener and taught me more than I possibly wanted to know. How corrupt this industry is and it’s self governance is despicable and the environmental harm it causes beyond belief. I have told everyone who will listen about this book. I think it is an essential learning experience, a real eye opener and has completely changed my view of the world I live in. Thanks Rachel on a job well done

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-20-19

Maddow for President

Lovingly endorsed by this non-bot New Zealander.

Just finished listening and about to go for round 2!

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  • john underwood
  • 11-11-19

insight extraordinaire

how I wish everyone would read this book, so we might unite to prevent the wholesale destruction the fossil industry is having on mankind

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-19

wow

what a fascinating book uncovering the dark side of the fossil fuel industry. very well researched and very well read.