We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Private Empire Audiobook

Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power

Regular Price:$45.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Steve Coll investigates the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States, revealing the true extent of its power. ExxonMobil’s annual revenues are larger than the economic activity in the great majority of countries. In many of the countries where it conducts business, ExxonMobil’s sway over politics and security is greater than that of the United States embassy. In Washington, ExxonMobil spends more money lobbying Congress and the White House than almost any other corporation. Yet despite its outsized influence, it is a black box.

Private Empire pulls back the curtain, tracking the corporation’s recent history and its central role on the world stage, beginning with the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 and leading to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The action spans the globe, moving from Moscow, to impoverished African capitals, Indonesia, and elsewhere in heart-stopping scenes that feature kidnapping cases, civil wars, and high-stakes struggles at the Kremlin.

At home, Coll goes inside ExxonMobil’s K Street office and corporation headquarters in Irving, Texas, where top executives in the “God Pod” (as employees call it) oversee an extraordinary corporate culture of discipline and secrecy.

The narrative is driven by larger-than-life characters, including corporate legend Lee “Iron Ass” Raymond, ExxonMobil’s chief executive until 2005. A close friend of Dick Cheney’s, Raymond was both the most successful and effective oil executive of his era and an unabashed skeptic about climate change and government regulation. This position proved difficult to maintain in the face of new science and political change, and Raymond’s successor, current ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, broke with Raymond’s programs in an effort to reset ExxonMobil’s public image. The larger cast includes countless world leaders, plutocrats, dictators, guerrillas, and corporate scientists who are part of ExxonMobil’s colossal story.

The first hard-hitting examination of ExxonMobil, Private Empire is the masterful result of Coll’s indefatigable reporting. He draws here on more than 400 interviews, field reporting from the halls of Congress to the oil-laden swamps of the Niger Delta, more than 1,000 pages of previously classified U.S. documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, heretofore unexamined court records, and many other sources. A penetrating, newsbreaking study, Private Empire is a defining portrait of ExxonMobil and the place of Big Oil in American politics and foreign policy.

©2012 Steve Coll (P)2012 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (454 )
5 star
 (228)
4 star
 (150)
3 star
 (65)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.3 (373 )
5 star
 (181)
4 star
 (124)
3 star
 (56)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.3 (378 )
5 star
 (199)
4 star
 (117)
3 star
 (51)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mike Johnson 11-17-17 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Many interesting facts."

    I like data and this book allows you to screen out quite a bit though one must be vigilant. This could have been a much better book and should be rewritten with the environmentalism and anti-corporate politics stripped out.
    Much of this is partisan as well as bogus and results in soiling a core of interesting work. Even if you agree with Mr. Coll the book is fatally dated as a result. The Climate Hustle was a great money maker but was time limited and even in 2017 reads as dated rendering the book largely obsolete.
    Authors can strive to get OUT OF THE WAY of their topics in nonfiction material such as this short account of Exxon which is really in a pretty plain primary industry. Far greater catastrophes of all descriptions await us in the times to come so we do not want to wring every tear drop and gasp of moral outrage over oil spills.
    A general Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical war or a collision with a major Space Rock will make a few million gallons of oil spilled the spilt milk of this rather better era in History.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard C. McGovern 11-13-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A dynamic history of a modern american corporation"

    American Empire shows how despite both parties' desires, Exxon Mobil and US foreign policy became inextricably bound up. It also paints a fascinating portrait of current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Management Consultant 10-27-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, but focuses too much on the oil spill"

    Very interesting topic. Unfortunately, for my interests, there are too many pages spent on details of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and not enough on Exxon Mobiles Washington efforts, Middle East efforts and interesting early history since Rockefeller.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Duane Barker 09-27-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Energy as seen by the corporate clones"

    Very good book for getting to know how our world is orchestrated by the global elite, if I may take the liberty of calling big oil by that acronym. Whats good for Exxon is good for the world,salute the company flag, not the US flag. Its a fair book as far as prejudices go, mostly from the side of Exxon. Global Warming is treated fairly, although as a scientist I dont believe in it, nor do many scientists, including Exxon scientists. But I'm a rocket scientist, not an oilman. The assasination and elimination of new overunity technologies is ignored and pretty much denied by this book, although Exxon I believe is quite involved in keeping new technologies off the market so oil can remain king. But what do you expect in a corporate book? Its a great look inside this modern Tyrannosaurus Rex. And yes, I have to put gas in my car too, until I can afford a Tesla at least. We are quite dependent on Exxon and they intend to keep it that way. $250 billion in quickly accessible reserves (to keep things that way) in 2009 the book says. Of course, the coproration says there are no accessible technologies on the horizon, but I know differently. It should say, Exxon is going to make sure they are not accessible. But thats just my opinion. I recommend this book for everyone, my only disappointment was Deepwater Horizons by BP. I think we the public deserve more of an explanation of what might have happened there. But maybe those are corporate secrets. And not a word about the "Corexit" dispersant, which so far as I know is still being sprayed in the Gulf due to leaks. it is a neurotoxin and will take out your brain. And not a word about the Queen of England just happening to visit here to cry about how she would have to hock her crown jewels if England had to pay for what BP did. Also, in Indonesia, I dont think he mentions once the rebels there are Moslem radicals, in a Moslem (90%) country. Well, the book remains politically correct, even though that part is important to the story as it is told so excellently. Overall, a really great book. The opinions are strictly mine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ABDULHAKK JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia 06-09-17
    ABDULHAKK JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia 06-09-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "discusting"

    we are always here how Oil spills blood all over... but to know the exact way and the mind behind it you must read this book .
    it is disgusting how money and greed can go so far.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-04-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dense, but highly informative for the motivated reader"

    This volume begins with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, chronicles the management of Lee Raymond, before concluding with Rex Tillerson as the new CEO trying at least in part to shift corporate culture. It is not a hatchet job, as at times Exxon is even a protagonist that I was rooting for to pull off a heist over Hugo Chavez. If you want to be informed about big oil, this book answers many questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ritware 03-16-17
    ritware 03-16-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "it was an easy read. I learned something new."

    the narration was very good. I would recommend this book to someone. I enjoyed it a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren 03-01-17
    Lauren 03-01-17 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mandatory reading for 2017"

    This book should be considered mandatory reading for anyone interested in US history and/or our current government administration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Damion Tolliver 01-25-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "biased anti oil waste of time"

    Unless the author(Coll) walks to work, has never been on a boat, plane or train and functions at night by candlelight he needs an attitude adjustment. If written from a slightly less biased perspective this had the potential to be a worthwhile read but the author's obvious underlying anti-oil theme was just too much to take as the story went on. I kept listening hopeful i would at least learn something about the incoming Treasury Secretary Tillerson but nothing really there either. The only part of this story that I enjoyed was the reading by Malcom Hillgartner which was done very well. If you are looking for a Michael Moore/Al Gore view of an oil and gas company's story then this is the book for you.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Sherer 01-19-17
    W. Sherer 01-19-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not riveting, but intellectually interesting"

    Find out what Rex Tillerson's career was like before he was tapped to run the State Department. An interesting history of a major corporation and its influence on everything from climate science to human rights. Not exactly a page turner, but I came away feeling like I had learned quite a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.