Monday, May 23, 2011

Abandoned: The Big Rich

I suppose the odds were catching up with me.  After all, we are almost half way through the year and, until tonight, I have abandoned only two books.  I've been struggling more and more, though, with The Big Rich, a multi-person biography of the men who were so instrumental in building the oil industry in this state.

The book is interesting; that is not the problem.  I am giving up on it some 238 pages in (a little less than half-way through) but I have learned a lot about the key players, how this particular bunch rose to the top of the heap, how they managed to stay there, and how often some of them had to start over again.  Their surnames adorn buildings, streets, and businesses all over this state: Bass, Cullen, Murchison, and Richardson, primarily.  The University of Houston would be very different today if not for the money Roy Cullen donated to the school in its earliest days.  In other words, I have heard these names, and some of these stories, for my whole life.

But I began to struggle with the book when it focused on the conservative politics of the Texas oil men, and all of the national politicians who were so willing to come to Texas, kiss a little oil-man-butt, and take their money in exchange for favors to be delivered later.  That list of corrupt and semi-corrupt politicians includes, among others: Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Joe McCarthy, Dwight Eisenhower, J. Edgar Hoover, and countless others.  Business as usual, I know - but I'm sick of reading about this country's political class and how incompetent and corrupt it generally is and has been.  This section of the book cancelled any curiosity I had to learn more about Texas's version of the Beverly Hillbillies.

When reading a book becomes as much of a chore as this one has become, it is time to shut the covers for good.  Now I remember why I abandoned my political blog four years ago.  Anymore, I react to politics and, more specifically, to politicians with a mixture of disgust and boredom - all of them.  I surrender.  This is Abandoned Book number three.


  1. I sympathize. Reading about the corruption affects your attitude about everything.

  2. The worst of it, Jenclair, is realizing that the system has been broken for so long it is probably beyond repair now. It's all about money, power, and greed anymore and I'm sick of the lot of them.