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The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes

by Bryan Burrough

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256874,073 (3.65)6
Chronicles the rise and fall of one of the great economic and political powerhouses of the twentieth century--Texas oil--by weaving together the epic sagas of the industry's Big Four (Roy Cullen, H. L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson) in a story of wealth, power, family feuds, scandals, and bankruptcies.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Fascinating. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
This is a relatively entertaining and educational look at the mega-fortunes built through the discovery and exploitation of oil and gas in Texas in the early years of the 20th century. The four individuals who make up the lion’s share of the work; Hugh Cullen, Sid Richardson, Clint Murchison and H. L. Hunt, are profiled from their early years, through their wealth building phase and then, in most cases through a period of wealth dissipation generally accomplished by their heirs.

The book touches upon the social, political and economic background of the country at large and the state of Texas in particular, as the discovery of oil and the rise of the automobile (and subsequently the OPEC oil embargo) act in concert to generate truly outrageous sums of money concentrated in relatively few hands. That those hands turned out to be in most cases relatively uneducated, bigoted spendthrifts only makes the story that much more entertaining.

Many of the actors were passingly familiar to me (Nelson Bunker Hunt in particular), though surprisingly, some I’d never heard of, despite their compelling stories and huge fortunes. To be honest, most of the major players were well before my time and much of the money had been squandered by the time I was grown. Again, a moderately entertaining work and a history lesson of some value. ( )
  santhony | Jul 21, 2011 |
This was a very entertaining book. You just shake your head. It's a fast read and very entertaining. There are several errors in this book. If you know anything about politics, you will catch them immediately upon reading it.
  nancyprovince | Jul 1, 2011 |
Big oil in the United States reached its acme in East Texas in the 1930's and brought Texas oilmen to the forefront of America's imagination. This book chronicles the stories of five of these men: Roy Cullen, H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, Glenn McCarthy and Sid Richardson. Sprawling and brawling these men held sway over local, state and federal government officials and spread their cultural influence far and wide. Even though their time has come and gone, their influence remains today in the energy & foreign policy of the United States.

This is just a terrific read. ( )
  etxgardener | Dec 8, 2010 |
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The irresistibility of the Texas rich in particular has persisted to this day, even as the most recent Texas president was leaving the White House in ignominy. Our super­rich are the gift that keeps on giving, a consistent and gloriously entertaining reminder that life can always be lived bigger, better and, sometimes, appallingly dumber than the average human mind can imagine. Bryan Burrough would seem a natural to chronicle this world, and to a large part, in “The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes,” he succeeds.
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