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Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State…

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most… (edition 2019)

by Rachel Maddow (Author)

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2521072,188 (4.46)11
"Rachel Maddow's Blowout offers a dark, serpentine, riveting tour of the unimaginably lucrative and corrupt oil-and-gas industry. With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe-from Oklahoma City to Siberia to Equatorial Guinea-exposing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas. She 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 United States, and the West's most important alliances. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, but ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson emerge as two of the past century's most consequential corporate villains. 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.""--… (more)
Title:Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
Authors:Rachel Maddow (Author)
Info:Crown (2019), 405 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle
Tags:Kindle, History, Politics, Up Next

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Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow


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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
One of the things I like about Rachel Maddow is the manner in which she weaves a story from what might otherwise seem like disparate bits and pieces. This book reflects her reporting style. She pulls events together to weave the tapestry that is the oil and gas industry. She certainly makes a dry topic palatable to an extent. Ultimately, however, it is too much for me of a topic that is both slightly dull and quite disturbing. Listening to Maddow read the book was a pleasure, particularly when her humor came through! ( )
  hemlokgang | Feb 1, 2020 |
I am so impressed with how Rachel can make a fascinating story out of so much factual information, pulling it together and organizing it so that it can weave a little back and forth in time to provide the incredible picture of where we are and what we are living through in this current energy crisis. It is all so complicated, especially when foreign names are so complicated to those of us trying to remember them and keep them organized as to who did what when!! Rachel has an absolute talent for making complicated ideas and issues understandable so as for her promise to NOT write another book? Be careful what you wish for---we might all need you to write again, soon!!! ( )
  nyiper | Dec 14, 2019 |
An ‘ok’ book....a lot of the content had been previously written about in various sources; the Oklahoma story and the focus on Rex Tillerson were quite interesting. The fracking controversies had been written about elsewhere. Madow’s humor can be gets a little tiresome in my opinion. ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Dec 2, 2019 |
This is a fascinating and scary book about what the oil and gas industry has done, to the world in general, to Russia in particular, and in lesser ways to the USA.

Discovering the great natural wealth of large deposits of oil and natural gas ought to be a great boon to a country--and it can be. If it has a strong, functional government committed to the national welfare, not just the private wealth of the ruling class, it can be. Even countries that aren't at all democratic, such as a number of the Middle Eastern oil powers, have managed to raise the income, education, and health of much of the population, not just the privileged ruling classes.

But others haven't. Maddow first introduces us to Equatorial Guinea, and the complete lack of benefit to the economic lower classes there, while the ruling family and their friends rake in the billions.

Then she moves on to a more detailed examination of what oil has done to Russia--killing off the infant democracy that Yeltsin, by no means free of corruption himself, very nearly got started, to be replaced by Putin's oligarchs and Russian mafia.

And also what it's done even in the USA, with lasting, bizarre tax breaks for the most profitable industry in the history of the world, along with environmental damage that's hard to regulate and control even when the law technically clearly requires it. Oil is corrupting even here, and we feel the effects of it. Yet we do have a functional government, still, and when there's enough popular anger, the government responds, and the effects do get controlled and cleaned up. Even in the oil state of Oklahoma, the fracking-created earthquake swarms are finally being contained and reduced. It's not perfect, but it's not the tragedy that is Putin's Russia.

Note: Technically, it's not fracking that causes the earthquakes. It's the disposal of the fracking liquid, injected deep into the ground, too deep, so that it reaches rock formations that are extremely vulnerable to destabilization by it. And no, that doesn't only happen in the fracking industry--but that's the industry that's doing it on a very large scale, and the industry that has enough money, power, and influence that it took years to force them to start being a bit more careful. They'd much rather have forced scientists to stop talking about it, and they very nearly succeeded for far too long. So it's not fracking that causes large increases in man-made earthquakes in previously seismically stable areas. It's the fracking industry. But for most of us, in the face of determined industry insistence that any regulation or taxation will be disastrous for the most profitable industry in history, that's pedantry and distraction.

But what's unexpected and startling--even to Rachel Maddow herself, as she's noted on some of her recent shows--is that some of the names in this deep dive into the oil industry are suddenly big in the news now, as the Russian oligarchs and Ukraine's struggles and Trump's official and unofficial presidential advisors are suddenly at the heart of our impeachment investigation.

There's a lot to be learned here, and it's unexpectedly relevant. And Maddow is an excellent reader of her own work.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Nov 4, 2019 |
Unsurprisingly, Maddow's books, especially this one, are like her TV show, more specifically the openings on her TV Show. The book isn't always linear, but, it also unfolds in a way that does make sense.

It's all about the oil and gas, but, as the book goes along, it's like all these other things, feeder roads, and a ton of them, are all hooked into the big oil and gas superhighway.

I've never heard it put in a way like the 'Resource Curse' either, but, that phrase does work perfectly (and depressingly) for what goes on in so many of these countries (and United States states sometimes).

Oh, and if you're not a fan of Russia at this point in time, you'll most definitely love this book.

I received this book via Netgalley thanks to Random House Publishing Group Crown Publishing. ( )
  DanieXJ | Oct 10, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachel Maddowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Morris, MichaelJacket Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuster, GregorJacket Imagessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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