Sample
  • Private Empire

  • ExxonMobil and American Power
  • By: Steve Coll
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 24 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (756 ratings)

Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Private Empire  By  cover art

Private Empire

By: Steve Coll
Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $29.25

Buy for $29.25

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.
activate_primeday_promo_in_buybox_DT

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

Critic reviews

"ExxonMobil has met its match in Coll, an elegant writer and dogged reporter… extraordinary...monumental." (The Washington Post)

"Fascinating.... Private Empire is a book meticulously prepared as if for trial, a lawyerly accumulation of information that lets the facts speak for themselves...a compelling and elucidatory work." (BLOOMBERG)

"Private Empire is meticulous, multi-angled and valuable.... Mr. Coll’s prose sweeps the earth like an Imax camera." (Dwight Garner, The New York Times)