From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Bryce, whose previous book, Pipe Dreams,
chronicled the rise and fall of Enron, now recounts how Texas rose over the past 60 years on a tide of oil to become the pre-eminent focus of American economic and political power. Bryce quickly sketches the emergence of the modern energy industry with the discovery of huge oil deposits in East Texas. He then turns to his central story, how Texas-based business empires like Exxon Mobil, Hunt Oil, Halliburton, and Baker Botts, the firm of James Baker III, have heavily promoted the careers of favored politicians going back to Lyndon Johnson. In return, Bryce shows, the oil industry and its tributaries have received lucrative government contracts, favorable tax treatment and kid-glove regulatory policies. Although Bryce devotes chapters to LBJ and his protégé, Democrat-turned-Republican John Connally, he reserves his special wrath for conservative Republicans like Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, James Baker and especially the Bushes. He contends that the market-shaping power of Texas oil inspired the creation of OPEC, and that generations of politicians, led by the Bushes, have tailored U.S. foreign policy to cater to Arab dictators and the Texas firms that serve them. There's little in Bryce's book that is freshly revelatory, and his prose is sometimes awkward, sometimes clichéd ("lap of luxury," "spending money like a drunken sailor," etc.). But in this election year, partisans looking for evidence of Republican corruption will find plenty of tidbits here.
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"A well-told tale whose sheer, documented scope of corruption and backslapping...will have readers agog..." -- Kirkus, April 1, 2004
"Bryce has marshaled an impressive, foot-noted fact base to support his disturbing accusation that Iraq is about oil." -- The Buffalo News, July 11, 2004
"Bryce is a knowledgeable guide through mazes of Texas-centered financial transactions that are almost never in the public interest." -- The Kansas City Star, August 1, 2004
"In this election year, partisans looking for evidence of Republican corruption will find plenty of tidbits here." -- Publishers Weekly, April 12, 2004
"Thoroughly researched and documented ... [shows] how our American political system has been thoroughly perverted by plunderers and special-interest groups." -- King Features Syndicate/West Sacramento News-Ledger, July 7, 2004
"[Bryce's] writing style makes for easy reading but his message is very disturbing." -- Creative Loafing, July 21, 2004
"a highly readable and believable narrative... Tidbits throughout the book... make it an intriguing read." -- Sacramento Bee, July 4, 2004
"cogently presented ... hard to ignore... a plaintive pleas for an America that comes closer to its most cherished ideals." -- Dallas Morning News, July 11, 2004
"thesis-driven ... a poke ... to conservatives ... red meat for ... liberals with a slightly paranoid ... [view] on American politics." -- Houston Chronicle, July 23, 2004