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The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough
The Big Rich is a biography of four Texas oilmen who made their fortunes and lived extravagant and controversial lives. Hugh Roy Cullen, Clint Murchison, Sid Richardson and H. L. Hunt all made their fortunes in the 1930s and then lived lives as if the rules didn't apply to them. They were anti-Semites and staunch conservatives who supported Senator Joseph McCarthy. Hunt was actually a bigamist. They burned through millions of dollars, but as long as their wells gushed oil, the money kept rolling in. The passed their fortunes onto their children, who squandered much of it away. Bryan Burrough's book has received mostly positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "The Texas oilmen who helped spawn it are long since gone, and their fortunes have been diminished for many reasons. Burrough is right to insist that they weren't quite the caricatures that Easterners found amusing or frightening, but his forthright, unsentimental book leaves little doubt that the caricatures had their roots in reality."