Alex_Halperin-small.jpgThe Big Rich by Bryan Burrough is a fun, dishy history of the first families of Texas oil. Like a gangster movie it begins with their swashbuckling successes, revels in their ultraconsumption, and then, gleefully voyeuristic, moves on to their inevitable collapses and embarrassments. While much of The Big Rich reads like a great soap opera, it’s also worthwhile for the chapters describing how, once they’d accumulated all the money in the world, the “ultraconservative” oilmen turned to politics. In both tactics and substance their anti-government, religiously conservative and anti-tax agenda bear a striking resemblance to today’s Tea Party movement.

Bio: Alex Halperin is an editor at Guernica. Read his last recommendation of the book Hospital “here”:

Read Halperin’s latest Guernica article “Charged Environment” here .

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