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Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty Kindle Edition
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|Length: 412 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Either way, this book really fills in a lot of details regarding just exactly who these men are, where they came from, and what their objectives are and how they are going about them. It's an important story, because the Koch family is today probably the single most influential private group in our domestic politics (they are said to have funnelled a staggering $400M into our most recent election cycle, through their various groups and channels - more than the Republican Party itself).
Believing in Libertarian principles - free market, with no government interference in the economy - David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party's candidate for Vice President in 1980, and Charles Koch has supported the party for many years. And as Libertarians, with beliefs and political views that are not always in line with many traditional conservative Republican positions, nevertheless the Koch brothers have become hugely influential in Republican politics in recent years. The book explains how this has come about - partially due to the intersection of some key issues where the Koch's Libertarian views agree with current Republican views, and partially due to the demonization of the Koch brothers by the current Democratic party, which may have in effect driven many Republican politicians into their camp.
Some history regarding the Koch family, which begins with the father, Fred Koch.Read more ›
Anyway: I almost passed on this book because while I definitely wanted to know more about the Koch Brothers and their rise in the corporate world and their influence on politics, I was nervous because the author is an editor at Mother Jones. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I didn't want to read a paranoid Maddow-esque hatchet job.
As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. Schulman has written an incredibly even-handed, empathic look at these men--and how they became who they became. The most interesting thing is that, at least in his portrayal, the Koch brothers' political involvement really does seem to be motivated by principle, not by their own corporate interests. The really, really believe in these libertarian ideals, without hypocrisy. As for the infighting: It struck me as more sad than anything, and Schulman contextualizes it extremely well in terms of their childhoods.
Honestly: I think if a writer for The National Review had written this, conservatives would love it and think that it was great.
The writing is very crisp and the narrative well-structured. Just a really great book about some of the most important people in American life.
Importantly, the book shows that the Koch brothers are complex human beings, not the demons which their political opponents try to characterize them as. They are extremely intelligent and motivated. (As someone whose years at M.I.T. didn't quite overlap those of the Kochs', I'm certain that they didn't earn their degrees back then based on family influence.) The libertarian beliefs of David and Charles are deep-seated and based on a principled desire to maximize human liberty and achieve a freer and more prosperous society. Whether you agree or disagree with their specific political ideas, Schulman demonstrates that it's pretty hard to stereotype them as traditional conservatives when they also support so many civil liberties issues such as gay marriage and marijuana legalization and are opposed to foreign interventionism and wars.
The most interesting question which the book raised for me involved the endless fraternal infighting among the Koch brothers. On the one hand it seems tragic that there should have been so much jealousy and rancor and intrigue for so long. When you have that much money, isn't that enough to satisfy anyone without having to attack family members?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An insite into one of the last great private business empires in the US. Their personal conflicts. Their sucesses and failures. Good read.Published 4 days ago by Diane Castles
?? At what point in time did the Koch bros supersede the Clintons as the most powerful dynasty ??
I think not....
I bought this book 1.5 years ago with the intention of understanding the inner world, motivations and thinking of these oil magnates who like to meddle in American politics. Read morePublished 23 days ago by ita_est
The is a great story of one of Americas richest families. I enjoyed the read and found the family interestingPublished 26 days ago by Steve E. Daley
Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty
Author, Daniel Schulman, is a journalist at Mother Jones, and to be charitable,... Read more
I found this to be an objective biography though the author's sesquipedalian (pretentious) vocabulary weighed heavily on the first half of the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Levi's Mom
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