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

My knowledge of our oil industry was east coast centric. The Big Rich adds another layer of a very a complex industry. Another page turner this book puts into context the lives of four Texas men, their families, our global oil industry, national and world politics from FDR to Eisenhower to JFK, Lyndon B Johnson, Nixon and Regan. For anyone who was born after 1960 – this will help you understand how the 1% is our new normal.

From The New Yorker:

When a huge oil reserve was discovered at Spindletop, in southeast Texas, in 1901, the state was an inward-looking “hell with cows” built around lumber, cotton, and cattle. In this riveting history, Burrough charts the decades-long rush that made Texas oil into a political and economic powerhouse through the lives of the four great barons: Hugh Roy Cullen, Clint Murchison, Sid Richardson, and H. L. Hunt. Each began his foray into oil as a wildcatter, striking it rich through a combination of intuition and bravado. The fortunes of the Big Four swelled during the Second World War, when the United States was the world’s leading producer of crude, but by the nineteen-eighties Middle Eastern oil was ascendant, and the barons’ legacies had dissolved into a sordid litany of debauchery, family feuds, scandals, and murder. Burrough brings each of his outsized subjects brilliantly to life, pitching their individual epics against a grand narrative of rise and decline.