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“The Big Rich"

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Good Day.... FYI............

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

Jan. 2009. 466p. By Bryan Burrough., 2008, Penguin Press, New York. Burrough (special correspondent, Vanity Fair; coauthor, with John Helyar, Barbarians at the Gate) details the multigenerational saga of the “Big Four” Texas oil families of Roy Cullen, H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson, from the discovery of oil under Beaumont, TX, in 1901 to the demolition of the infamous Shamrock Hotel, the last bastion of oil-fueled Texas excess, in 1987.

Since Burrough favors the human-interest angle, the narrative really hits its stride when the focus moves to the Hunt family in the 1960s. The real-life inspiration for the television show “Dallas“, the Hunts prove the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. In addition to splurging and feuding as only billionaires can, they (allegedly) masterminded the JFK assassination and later threw Wall Street into chaos with their fixation on converting their family fortune into silver ingots, precipitating what at the time was the largest bailout in U.S. history. This book is an entertaining look at the larger-than-life histories of the incomprehensibly rich and powerful. While it‘s an extensively researched synthesis of a time and a place, it avoids a dry, academic tone through the natural drama of these miniature empires and the truly bizarre characters that inhabited them.

Best Regards in Research,


Don Roberdeau

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