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

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

Bryan Burrough / Aug 23, 2019

The Big Rich The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes What s not to enjoy about a book full of monstrous egos unimaginable sums of money and the punishment of greed and shortsightedness Phenomenal reviews and sales greeted the hardcover publication of

  • Title: The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes
  • Author: Bryan Burrough
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 312
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • What s not to enjoy about a book full of monstrous egos, unimaginable sums of money, and the punishment of greed and shortsightedness Phenomenal reviews and sales greeted the hardcover publication of The Big Rich, New York Times bestselling author Bryan Burrough s spellbinding chronicle of Texas oil Weaving together the multigenerational sagas of the industry s four What s not to enjoy about a book full of monstrous egos, unimaginable sums of money, and the punishment of greed and shortsightedness Phenomenal reviews and sales greeted the hardcover publication of The Big Rich, New York Times bestselling author Bryan Burrough s spellbinding chronicle of Texas oil Weaving together the multigenerational sagas of the industry s four wealthiest families, Burrough brings to life the men known in their day as the Big Four Roy Cullen, H L Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson, all swaggering Texas oil tycoons who owned sprawling ranches and mingled with presidents and Hollywood stars Seamlessly charting their collective rise and fall, The Big Rich is a hugely entertaining account that only a writer with Burrough s abilities and Texas upbringing could have written.

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      Published :2018-012-22T07:39:23+00:00

    About "Bryan Burrough"

      • Bryan Burrough

        Bryan Burrough joined Vanity Fair in August 1992 and has been a special correspondent for the magazine since January 1995 He has reported on a wide range of topics, including the events that led to the war in Iraq, the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, and the Anthony Pellicano case His profile subjects have included Sumner Redstone, Larry Ellison, Mike Ovitz, and Ivan Boesky Prior to joining Vanity Fair, Burrough was an investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal In 1990, with Journal colleague John Heylar, he co authored Barbarians at the Gate HarperCollins , which was No 1 on the New York Times nonfiction best seller list for 39 weeks Burrough s oth er books include Vendetta American Express and the Smearing of Edmund Safra HarperCollins, 1992 , Dragonfly NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir HarperCollins, 1998 and Public Enemies America s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933 34 Penguin Press, 2004.Burrough is a three time winner of the John Hancock Award for excellence in financial journalism He lives in Summit, New Jersey with his wife Marla and their two sons.


    1. This is a fun tour. It's particularly strong on the early years of H.L. Hunt, Roy Murchison and Sid Richardson (the Bass family founder). The book loses its way a bit with the big detour through the Glenn McCarthy story (which deserves its own book). The main problem with the book is Burrough's strident liberal political correctness. It's "ultra-conservative" this and "ultra-conservative" that over and over again. Burroughs can't fathom why any of these people, whom he otherwise admires, might n [...]

    2. I’ve been on a Texas binge lately. I’ve always found the state, its history, and its people to be intriguing. And the politicians? Is there a state that can compare with Texas when one begins to list the people who have served as governor of that state? Well, maybe next-door neighbor Louisiana comes close.I read one time (and I would give credit to the source, but I don’t remember who wrote it) that, paraphrasing now, Louisiana governors had three primary responsibilities. Listed in the or [...]

    3. I found this a really interesting telling of the oil fortunes and misfortunes in Texas; however, I would have liked to be provided with some information on the steam (boiler) engines that were used in the drilling! Burrough often tells of the hazards that the boilers were when the gushers came in, but does not detail at all the use of the boilers.My family enjoyed a stay in the Shamrock Hilton when we moved to that area in 1973, it had an amazing pool! Also, as a software representative for IBM [...]

    4. Intriguing stories about the men (unfortunately mainly men) that I grew up hearing about in Texas. These are the backgrounds of the men who made Texas famous for oil and big money. Really enjoyed the gossipy but true life adventures. Sadly,many of these families have devolved into the right-wing politicians and now have brought shame onto Texas. (Actually they were doing this for decades but not as openly.) Very detailed and researched. Now I know who owned some of those houses I used to walk my [...]

    5. There are some areas of the country I find particularly interesting. Most I can attribute to a personal connection (VA, NC, CA), because of what happens there (LA, NYC) or some combination (DC). Others are just so peculiar that they make for fascinating reading. These tend to be on the geographical fringe; places like Alaska, Maine and Texas. Bryan Burroughs (co-author of Barbarians at the Gate) tackles some of the key creators of the modern Texas in the Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greate [...]

    6. Is it any wonder Texas oilmen inspired soap operas like "Dallas" and "Giant?" Here's a cursory list of their goings-on:>Drinkin'>Gamblin'>Whorin';>Bigamy;>Old-fashioned Jew-hatin';>Commie-huntin';>Jesus-findin';>Coke-snortin';>Sidewalk sleepin';>Market-cornerin';>Right-wingin';>Island-buyin';>$290,000 in silver dollars;>Wrestling matches at the symphony;>Armed robbery;>Billion dollar debts;>One lobotomy;>Hazard pay just for working in Texas h [...]

    7. A very compelling and interesting "history" of the big four "wealthy beyond your wildest dreams" Texans. Burroughs discusses Roy Cullen, HL Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson. A few others are thrown in as other illustrations of the swaggering, egotistical, ill educated and small minded men who were lucky, ruthless and tenacious at a time when there was little in Texas beyond some sagebrush and skinny, malnourished cattle grazing on thousands of acres of brush and mesquite trees. A clever [...]

    8. Excellent book about the big four oilmen (aka the Big Rich) and their families in Texas from the 1930s into the 1980s. These were powerful men/families that through their immense wealth influenced Texas and the country both socially and politically. The Big Four were Roy Cullen (Houston), H. L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, Sr. (Dallas), and Sid Richardson (Fort Worth). Bryan Burrough follows the trials and triumphs of each man and family(ies) with great dedication. Several men were racists and anti [...]

    9. Very interesting on the history of oil in Texas. The first part of the book was fascinating: how oil was found using various combinations of money, luck, intelligence, and chutzpah. It's kind of technical, but Burroughs explains this key part of 20th c. Texas history in an engaging & clear way. The stories of the families of the "big rich" were ok -- it was interesting to find out more about names I've heard of my whole life (as a Texan), but too sensationalistic for my taste. I almost gave [...]

    10. Interesting, entertaining, but the authors apparent disdain for the Big Rich is at times to apparent. I tend to appreciate more unbiased approaches when reading books like his. For all his trying Burrough doesn't have the same fluidity to his chronicle as Cornelius Ryan in The Longest Day which makes epic stories that cross generations such as these accessible and readable. Overall, a good history of a sad turn of events in Texas oil history.

    11. This book had great stories but the book as a whole was hard to finish. It felt very disjointed and the flow was horrible. It felt like it was various stories (in great detail) that had no arch. Also, the book dove into stories of people that wasn't part of the Big Four. I would have preferred it so much more if it was presented as a collection of stories.

    12. A well-written and eye opening history of 20th-Century Texas. Did you know that Big Oil was behind McCarthyism, two Presidents Bush, and a million other hypocrisies? You did? Well, I think there's still new stuff to be discovered in here. You can be entertained and horrified at the same time

    13. Got this book as a gift from my in-laws. Couldn't put it down! Fascinating story that follows four Texas oil families from early days on through to (most of) their demise. Highly recommend!

    14. THE BIG RICH is about how Texas wildcatters amassed huge fortunes during the Depression and went on to lose most of it in wild speculation.Bryan Burrough concentrates on the big four: Clint Murchison, H.L. Hunt, Roy Cullen and Sid Richardson. They were able to acquire oil leases because the big oil companies, like Gulf, were short on money because of the Depression. H.L. Hunt got his start by “hijacking” another wildcatter, “Dad” Joiner who found the first great oil field in East Texas, [...]

    15. Back in the day, when I ventured to far off Trenton to work a job while in college, I actually met people who were NY Yankees fans. To this born and bred Philly boy, nobody rooted for the Yankees. Everybody I knew hated the Yankees. I had to adjust my world view, because these guys were OK. Again, my world view was shattered when I moved to Alaska and actually had to work with Texans who were Dallas Cowboy fans and proud to be Texans. Most had "Texas Rooms" where they proudly displayed mementos [...]

    16. The joys, sorrows and collapse of the Big Rich or the Big Four families of Texas oil. My wife's cousin, a petroleum engineer in Texas, convinced me to read this book. Usually I would say 'I'll check it out' then forget about it. It was his passion about this book that made me want to read it.There are times you'll shake your head on how foolish some of these people were and there are some times where you burst out laughing at some of the antics. From the 1920's with wildcatters till the Hunt bro [...]

    17. But for its Texas epic length, I would have finished this fine book months ago, not put it aside for fiction several times. The story is colorful and well told, the characters so outrageous and the successes and failures so striking as to seem exaggerated in other contexts, but not here. This is the tale of those who struck it rich and how it changed us all.Growing up, Texas was the really big state next door that had no mountains of its own whose residents' kids I met when my family went tent c [...]

    18. An extensive and entertaining report of the "rise and fall" of the Texas oil money. Having lived in Texas and as an enthusiast of business history, this book served to close various gaps. It also made much sense of what I had observed first hand while a Texas resident. All I have to say is that, when reading this book, you will be surprised of the depth of influence that a few risk takers have had in the world that we know.

    19. Gossipy but entertaining popular history of the Texas oil industry. Burrough makes some annoying mistakes (natural gas doesn't smell like "rotten eggs" at the wellhead; "jet fuel" didn't exist until there were jet engines to burn it) but he keeps the narrative moving briskly. There's a bit too much whining about "ultra-conservative" politics for my taste but that's to be expected these days. Recommended if you can get it cheap. Would give it 3.5 stars if I had that option.

    20. If you are a native Texan born before 1950, this book is a must read. If you are curious as to how the Texas mystique surrounding oil came about, this book is a must read as well. It is very well researched and gives insight into the makings of the original Texas oil money and the people whose lives it built and destroyed. Excellent book!

    21. This is one of those rare books that I would recommend to virtually everyone I know. It is very easy to read and covers an amazing amount of material. Learning about the crazy shit done by the BIG RICH TEXANS sure is fun. But the things I did not know are what have really kept me interested i.e. natural gas was a by product of oil production that was simply discarded. No one used it as an energy source until after World War II.This book is well worth your time.

    22. Interesting read on how the big oil fortunes of Texas were made, as well as how they were lost. Along the way, stories about the larger-than-life families involved. And some insights into the roots of some of the political movements of today.

    23. Entertaining for someone who moved to Houston through the boom and bust years starting in the late 70s.

    24. The early pages were a really interesting history of wildcatting for oil in Texas. Then the uneducated rednecks who found the oil got rich and things got ugly, as only obscene amounts of money can do. "The men who ran Texas oversaw a hierarchical, plantation-style culture, ruled by a southern aristocracy dedicated to harvesting the earth while keeping its workers subservient and poorly educatedThe men of Texas oil, it appeared, had little to offer the American people beyond hatred." The Big Rich [...]

    25. A native Texan once told me that, per-capita, downtown Dallas has more square-feet of glass than any other city in the world, ensuring that on the mirrored surfaces, residents have countless opportunities to glimpse their own captivating image. I cannot confirm the statistic but Texans certainly do love to reflect on their identity and unique cultural heritage. This 175-year tradition is dutifully maintained by Bryan Burrough in his multi-generational history of Texas oil, The Big Rich.After the [...]

    26. The Big Rich is a fascinating story about four Texas families who became fabulously wealthy by striking oil.Of these four, perhaps the most interesting was that of the Hunts. H.L. Hunt the family patriarch, was the real scoundrel of the bunch. He was a philanderer who had three wives! He made his fortune by, among other actions, taking advantage of inside information. Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison were boyhood friends. Richardson parlayed a modest loan from Murchison's banker father into hu [...]

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