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Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Schulman
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  • Sprache: Englisch
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"Sons of Wichita feels as close to the truth as anyone is likely to get for a long time to come."—Financial Times

"[A] riveting biography...fair-minded and inquisitive. Schulman offers carefully observed details that help flesh out our image of the men whose money has so dramatically remade our politics, revealing much about their motives as well as the demons that haunt them."—The Washington Post

"[A] complex story of epic sibling rivalry, with important political dimensions."—Publishers Weekly

"[C]ompulsively readable... a bias-free book that illuminates two of the most influential figures on the American landscape while telling a remarkable, if cautionary, tale about money, power, and the bonds of brotherhood."—Booklist

"A straightforward, evenhanded and often riveting assessment."—Kirkus

"[I]f you care about politics and the ultimately far more powerful cultural direction of these United States...[this book] is mandatory reading."—Nick Gillespie, The Daily Beast

Kurzbeschreibung

Like the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of the modern age, but they have never been the subject of a major biography... until now.

Not long after the death of his father, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter the family patriarch had written to his sons. "You will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money," Fred Koch cautioned. "It may either be a blessing or a curse."

Fred's legacy would become a blessing and a curse to his four sons-Frederick, Charles, and fraternal twins David and Bill-who in the ensuing decades fought bitterly over their birthright, the oil and cattle-ranching empire their father left behind in 1967. Against a backdrop of scorched-earth legal skirmishes, Charles and David built Koch Industries into one of the largest private corporations in the world-bigger than Boeing and Disney-and they rose to become two of the wealthiest men on the planet.

Influenced by the sentiments of their father, who was present at the birth of the John Birch Society, Charles and David have spent decades trying to remake the American political landscape and mainline their libertarian views into the national bloodstream. They now control a machine that is a center of gravity within the Republican Party. To their supporters, they are liberating America from the scourge of Big Government. To their detractors, they are political "contract killers," as David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's chief strategist, put it during the 2012 campaign.

Bill, meanwhile, built a multi-billion dollar energy empire all his own, and earned notoriety as an America's Cup-winning yachtsman, a flamboyant playboy, and as a litigious collector of fine wine and Western memorabilia. Frederick lived an intensely private life as an arts patron, refurbishing a series of historic homes and estates.

SONS OF WICHITA traces the complicated lives and legacies of these four tycoons, as well as their business, social, and political ambitions. No matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of our era, but so little is publicly known about this family, their origins, how they make their money, and how they live their lives. Based on hundreds of interviews with friends, relatives, business associates, and many others, SONS OF WICHITA is the first major biography about this wealthy and powerful family-warts and all.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Familien glänzen nicht 2. Juli 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Es sind Menschen die entscheiden und handeln. Mit all ihren Gefühlen und Neigungen. Dass sie erfolgreich sind enthebt sie nicht sozialer Verantwortung gegenüber der Gemeinschaft in der sie leben. Das lernen die Gegenspieler schmerzlich kennen. Ein aktuellen Buch über einen Teil der Gesellschaft, in der wir leben und das sich zu lesen lohnt.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Understanding the most sophisticated and effective political influencers in current day American politics 23. Mai 2014
Von Phil in Magnolia - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Koch Brothers. Almost a metaphor today in certain circles, and depending upon your persuasion they might be viewed as either the biggest threat to our democracy that exists today (this might be the view from some Democratic party seats), or they might be considered the greatest heroes currently active in politics (from Tea Party or Libertarian seats).

Either way, this book really fills in a lot of details regarding just exactly who these men are, where they came from, and what their objectives are and how they are going about them. It's an important story, because the Koch family is today probably the single most influential private group in our domestic politics (they are said to have funnelled a staggering $400M into our most recent election cycle, through their various groups and channels - more than the Republican Party itself).

Believing in Libertarian principles - free market, with no government interference in the economy - David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party's candidate for Vice President in 1980, and Charles Koch has supported the party for many years. And as Libertarians, with beliefs and political views that are not always in line with many traditional conservative Republican positions, nevertheless the Koch brothers have become hugely influential in Republican politics in recent years. The book explains how this has come about - partially due to the intersection of some key issues where the Koch's Libertarian views agree with current Republican views, and partially due to the demonization of the Koch brothers by the current Democratic party, which may have in effect driven many Republican politicians into their camp.

Some history regarding the Koch family, which begins with the father, Fred Koch. Early in his business career, he worked in Stalinist Soviet Union and helped to modernize the Soviet oil industry and build oil refineries there in the late 1920's and early 1930's. (Joseph Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union beginning in the mid-1920s).

Fred Koch returned home, having made several million dollars in the Soviet Union, in effect launching his business empire. He also had been profoundly impacted by what he saw there first hand - the terrible living conditions and repression of the Stalin regime - and this convinced him of the need to defeat the spread of communism and influenced his political beliefs from that point on. Later in his life, Fred Koch was 'in the room' in 1958 when the John Birch society was first created, and he is considered to be the co-founder of that society, along with Robert W. Welch Jr. (this is the society that at one time essentially called President Eisenhower a communist).

The Koch family eventually separated from the John Birch society, and this in part led the family to create their own non profit foundation, among other things supporting what we now consider Libertarianism (those efforts led by Charles Koch in the 1960's). And although Libertarian beliefs have been a part of political discussions since the late 18th century, the present day Libertarian Party in the United States was founded in 1971, and it has offered candidates in all Presidential Elections in the U.S. since 1972. The Charles Koch foundation was transformed in 1976 into the present day Cato Institution, which continues to be a leading Conservative and Libertarian movement think-tank.

When someone today mentions the "Koch Brothers", they generally mean the two brothers Charles and David Koch. There are in fact four brothers altogether, with oldest brother Frederick, and David's twin brother Bill, having little involvement in the political activities which are principally led by Charles as well as David who has more recently joined his brother Charles in these efforts.

On the business side, the Koch family owns or controls a vast network of corporations as part of their empire. Koch Industries has operations in 60 countries, with close to 100,000 employees, total revenues of $115B annually, including commodities trading, petrochemicals, Georgia Pacific corporation, and many other businesses. The book describes some of the internal family feuds that have taken place, regarding control of the family company and disputes between the brothers along those lines.

The most interesting parts of the book to me were the descriptions of how the Koch brothers have become incredibly effective in influencing domestic U.S. politics through their vast array of non-profit organizations and fund raising network (as mentioned earlier, $400M funnelled into most recent election, through these various groups and channels), including Freedom Partners, and American's for Prosperity. This financial and organizational strength has led them to become de facto Republican "Kingmakers" in many cases, even though, as mentioned earlier, they do not agree with mainstream Republicans on many key party issues. The Koch brothers are nothing if not pragmatic when it comes to doing what is necessary in order to further their objectives.

Background on the Koch brothers views with respect to government and public policy are also illuminating. In line with their Libertarian beliefs, their greatest interest is in economic issues, and Koch has been quoted as saying that he views government as "only a night watchman" that should exist solely to protect private property rights and preserve the laws of supply and demand. At times in the past they have expressed the beliefs that vast portions of the U.S. government should be dismantled - for example, in the 1980's they had advocated eliminating social security and also getting rid of the income tax. They are very much against any and all government entitlements (including government handouts to corporations).

The book gives many examples of how Koch Industries and the brothers themselves are strongly against essentially all regulations, especially including any environmental regulations. They support skepticism of human actions as causing climate change. They seek to dismantle environmental policies and regulations. This support of groups who put forward views that seek to cast doubt on the existence of climate change would seem to be an almost contradictory position for them to be taking, given that in many other ways the Koch brothers do support scientific efforts; their own university training has been in engineering and science, and they are not generally considered to be anti-science in their philosophies. Remember though that their business interests continue to be heavily involved with the oil and related industries; and those are not industries generally considered to be at the leading edge of environmental efforts!

The role of the Koch brothers in creating the Tea Party movement is also quite interesting. They are credited with providing organizational support, funding, and ideological agendas to the Tea Party. This came partially from a long standing feeling by the Koch brothers and others, that socialism was just around the corner every time any new government initiative involving regulation or control was proposed. The book suggests that this ideology, viewing these regulatory developments as threatening the country, can probably be traced as far back as their involvement in the John Birch society. It all was taken to a new and higher level when Obama was elected President, and groups such as the Koch run American's for Prosperity then helped to create the Tea Party and ensure it was successfully launched.

Author Daniel Schulman makes a convincing argument that the Koch family is probably the most influential private family in our politics today. He also feels that this influence is likely to continue far into the future, due to the organizations that they have established and funded. He compares them to prominent families in the history of our country such as the Carnegie's, or the Rockefellers, with impact that goes well beyond politics and includes business, medical research, and other areas.

It's a compelling, interesting, and sometimes concerning, story. Five stars.
34 von 39 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Certainly not a hit piece...... 29. Mai 2014
Von ictks - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
My assumption on purchasing this book was that it would be a hit piece and was pleasantly surprised that it is not. I found it very even handed. No doubt, there are bad things about this family and their actions as with all familys, but there is also good. A product of their dysfunctional home with an overbearing controlling father, you could expect no less. The book goes into detail as to the making of Charles and his brothers. Their accomplishments and their downfalls. Definitely an interesting read. The old adage of having more money than god doesn't ensure happiness is apparent here even if the boys are unaware of it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Like a Grisham novel, but REAL! 19. Mai 2014
Von Ken - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verifizierter Kauf
Way too many plots, subplots, twists and turns to do Dan Shulman's book justice in a short review. We hear about the political spending of Charles and David in the news, but there is oh so much more to this family. Two other brothers who are interesting in their own right, offices being bugged, people being threatened, a massive family squabble and above all, profits. Charles Koch is portrayed as a tyrant at the helm. He hates the government with a passion, loves nothing or anything more than money, and doesn't seem to care who gets hurt, dies, is cheated or stolen from as long as he comes out on top. This guy makes J.R. Ewing look like a Boy Scout. It would be great reading if it was fiction, but knowing that it's all true just makes it pathetic.
38 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Riveting from beginning to end 22. Mai 2014
Von Karoli - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Don't assume you know everything about the Koch family until you've read this book. Schulman treats the Kochs fairly and objectively throughout, but with enough detail to allow readers to make their own conclusion.
43 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Stunningly Good 1. Juni 2014
Von Zachary H. Bissonnette - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This doesn't show up as an Amazon Verified Purchase because Amazon was not stocking it, so I had to look elsewhere. . .

Anyway: I almost passed on this book because while I definitely wanted to know more about the Koch Brothers and their rise in the corporate world and their influence on politics, I was nervous because the author is an editor at Mother Jones. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I didn't want to read a paranoid Maddow-esque hatchet job.

As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. Schulman has written an incredibly even-handed, empathic look at these men--and how they became who they became. The most interesting thing is that, at least in his portrayal, the Koch brothers' political involvement really does seem to be motivated by principle, not by their own corporate interests. The really, really believe in these libertarian ideals, without hypocrisy. As for the infighting: It struck me as more sad than anything, and Schulman contextualizes it extremely well in terms of their childhoods.

Honestly: I think if a writer for The National Review had written this, conservatives would love it and think that it was great.

The writing is very crisp and the narrative well-structured. Just a really great book about some of the most important people in American life.
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