Book Detail

Featured from New Loan Books

Click on the call number to check the book's current status.

The Big Rich

The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes
Bryan Burrough
New York : The Penguin Press, 2009
HD9567 .T3 B873 2009

The epic story of how Texas oil transformed wealth and power in America, told through the interweaving sagas of the industry's four greatest fortunes.

In The Big Rich, bestselling author and Vanity Fair special correspondent Bryan Burrough chronicles the rise and fall of one of the great economic and political powerhouses of the twentieth century - Texas oil. By weaving together the multigenerational stories of the state's four wealthiest oil fortunes, Burrough has produced an enthralling tale of money, family, and power in the American century.

Known in their day as the Big Four, Roy Cullen, H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson were all from modest backgrounds, and all became patriarchs of the richest and most influential oil families in Texas - the state's equivalent of royalty. Along with their peers, they shifted wealth and power in America both south and west, largely bankrolling the rise of modern conservatism, and sending three of their state's native sons to the White House. As a class they came to be known as the Big Rich, and together they created a new legend in America - the swaggering Texas oil tycoon who owns private islands, sprawling ranches, and perhaps a football team or two, and mingles with presidents and Hollywood stars.

The truth more than lives up to the myth. H.L. Hunt bacame America's richest man by grabbing Texas's largest oil field out from under the nose of the man who found it; he was also a lifelong bigamist. Clint Murchison entertained British royalty on his Mexiacan hacienda and bet on racehorses - and conducted dirty deals - with J. Edgar Hoover. Roy Cullen, an elementary-school dropout, used his millions to revive the hapless Texas GOP and was an early and significant backer of Senator Joe McCarthy. And Sid Richardson, the Big Four's larger-than-life, fun-loving bachelor, was a friend of several presidents, including, most fatefully, Lyndon B. Johnson. With the unprecedented amount of cash he funneled into Johnson's rise, Richardson changed the way money shaped politics forever.

The Big Four produced offspring who frequently made more headlines, and in some cases more millions, than they did. With few exceptions, however, the families' fortunes came to an end in a swirl of bitter family feuds, scandals, and bankruptcies, and by the late 1980s, the era of the Big Rich was over. But as Texas native Bryan Burrough reveals in this hugely entertaining account, the profound economic, political, and cultural influence of Texas oil is still keenly felt today.

Quoted from dustjacket.