Bryan Burrough has long been one of this nations best storytellers, but he has outdone himself with his tour de force, The Big Rich
. Set amid the rough and tumble of the Texas oil fields and stretching to the halls of political power in Washington, this epic tale reveals the hidden undercurrents of modern American history that flowed from four families of unimaginable wealth and recklessness. With an unerring eye for detail, Burrough dissects their lives and histories, starting with the patriarchsstruggling, poorly educated men who might have remained forever unknown if not for their success at pulling black ooze from the ground. The Big Rich
lays bare their arrogance and aspirations, their principles and hypocrisy, their daring and foolishness, taking readers deep inside a world of affluence that has remained secret for far too long. It is, quite simply, a triumph.
Kurt Eichenwald, author of The Informant
and Conspiracy of Fools
Its hard to imagine a greater literary marriage than that of the oil barons of Texas and Bryan Burrough. On the one hand, you have a collection of gargantuan personalities who in the 1920s struck it rich and then, in the decades that followed, used their wealth to transform American business, culture and politics. On the other, you have an authorand native Texanwho writes, as he always does, with enormous insight and panache. The Big Rich
has all the hallmarks of a classic American saga.
David Margolick, author of Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink
The Big Rich
, a 400 page opus on the oil-powered rise of the Texas elite, has so many characters and entertaining subplots it reads like a petroleum-based Lord of the Rings
. This is, of course, a compliment
In Burroughs captivating story, done with the same keen eye on excess as his corporate classic Barbarians at the Gate
, its clear these men cast a shadow so wide they contributed more to our economic, national and political identities than almost any other titans of industry.
Burrough has done estimable new reporting, showing links between Texas money and national politics that stretch back far earlier than the days of Lyndon B. Johnson.
Mimi Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review
A Lone Star epic
Burrough introduces his protagonists with a novelists eye for detail.
Though this book forms an epitaph for a bygone era, its not without relevance today.
It would be hard to ask for a literally or figuratively rich cast of characters than those in The Big Rich
Nicely detailed and suspenseful.
Harry Hurt III, The New York Times Business Section
well researched and briskly told. Burrough has produced an indispensable guide to the knotty fascination that Texas spurs in the imagination.
Here at Capitol Annex, we get a fair number of books to review. Rarely do we come across one that we can so highly recommend
The Big Rich
is simply a must read.
The Capitol Annex
Capitalism at its most colorful oozes across the pages of this engrossing study of independent oil men
This is a portrait of capitalism as white-knuckle risk taking, yielding fruitful discoveries for the fathers, but only sterile speculation for the sons a story that resonates with todays economic upheaval.
The most improbable people of all must live in Texas and, in the good old days, they hunted for oil, found it, sold it, made fortunes and eventually blew most of it. In The Big Rich
, Bryan Burrough tells a wonderful tale of the four biggest Texas millionaires.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
invokes a tale of bitter competition, family feuds, booms, and bankruptcies that more than lives up to the legends.
An entertaining look at the larger-than-life histories of the incomprehensibly rich and powerful.
Full of schadenfreude and speculationand solid, timely history too.
Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
Whats not to enjoy about a book full of monstrous egos, unimaginable sums of money and the punishment of greed and shortsightedness by the march of events?
[The Big Rich
] is a ripping
read from start to finish. At the end of it those of less ample fortunes will feel their Schadenfreude richly indulged.
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