Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Big Rich by Bryan Burrough

The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Oil Fortunes, by Bryan Burrough, is one of those books that I'll sit in a parking lot to listen to (I'm listening to it on my iPod), ironically and guiltily burning the very resource that is the basis of the story, and that which sometimes seems the bane of our existence - oil.

Not only is it well written (I know, I always say that, but that's an important criteria for me), but there are so many personal points of reference in the book, that I feel like I'm in it!
When he talks about Clint Murchison, I remember in 1981, when I turned down a job managing his racehorse, ranching and oil interest, to manage a ranch in New Mexico. I recall vividly the night skies in west Texas pocked by the bright yellow glow of hundreds of wellheads burning off gas, what we called flares. I remember driving to San Angelo with my mom and dad and seeing miles and miles of wooden oil derricks and pumpjacks shoulder to shoulder, the ground black with seeping oil.

What I don't remember, and what is most fascinating about the book to me now, is the insidious political maneuverings, the rags-to-gauche wealth-to-rags stories, and the global oil heritage that still impacts us so very significantly even today.

I grew up in oil country so I relate very personally to all of the stories in "The Big Rich," but I also relate to it as a Texan, and this book, like the state, is sort of bigger than life, so I think that the world will, as they do Texas, begrudgingly embrace it. They may not like us, but they all secretly want to be us. That's right sister, we're crazy "wildcaters" and we're often wrong, but we're colorful and we make history. Texans, it's like a whole other country.

Read it and weep.


No comments:

Post a Comment