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Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers…
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Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and… (edição: 2014)

de Daniel Schulman (Autor)

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1438146,806 (3.38)2
"Like the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of the modern age, but they have never been the subject of a major biography... until now. Not long after the death of his father, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter the family patriarch had written to his sons. 'You will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money,' Fred Koch cautioned. 'It may either be a blessing or a curse.' Fred's legacy would become a blessing and a curse to his four sons--Frederick, Charles, and fraternal twins David and Bill--who in the ensuing decades fought bitterly over their birthright, the oil and cattle-ranching empire their father left behind in 1967. Against a backdrop of scorched-earth legal skirmishes, Charles and David built Koch Industries into one of the largest private corporations in the world--bigger than Boeing and Disney--and they rose to become two of the wealthiest men on the planet. Influenced by the sentiments of their father, who was present at the birth of the John Birch Society, Charles and David have spent decades trying to remake the American political landscape and mainline their libertarian views into the national bloodstream. They now control a machine that is a center of gravity within the Republican Party. To their supporters, they are liberating America from the scourge of Big Government. To their detractors, they are political 'contract killers,' as David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's chief strategist, put it during the 2012 campaign. Bill, meanwhile, built a multi-billion dollar energy empire all his own, and earned notoriety as an America's Cup-winning yachtsman, a flamboyant playboy, and as a litigious collector of fine wine and Western memorabilia. Frederick lived an intensely private life as an arts patron, refurbishing a series of historic homes and estates. SONS OF WICHITA traces the complicated lives and legacies of these four tycoons, as well as their business, social, and political ambitions. No matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of our era, but so little is publicly known about this family, their origins, how they make their money, and how they live their lives. Based on hundreds of interviews with friends, relatives, business associates, and many others, SONS OF WICHITA is the first major biography about this wealthy and powerful family--warts and all"--… (mais)
Membro:bgreyno
Título:Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty
Autores:Daniel Schulman (Autor)
Informação:Grand Central Publishing (2014), Edition: 1st, 432 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty de Daniel Schulman

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"Some people are so poor all they have is money." I couldn't help but think of this saying/quote when reading about the Koch brothers--boogeymen of the US political Left, heroes/saviors/big donors of the Right. I've had this on my "to read" list for quite awhile, (and have renewed the book 3 times at the library because I just couldn't get to it) and I must agree with other reviews. This is something right out of 'Dynasty' or 'Dallas.' Family drama, big businesses dividing brothers, romantic entanglements, lawsuits galore, etc.
 
The author traces the story of the four brothers: Frederick, Charles, Bill and David, through their childhoods and youth. Their father made it big and the sons inherited the wealth, with Koch being involved with oil and other industries and making themselves obscenely wealthy. Some of it is to continue building the empire, some of it goes to charitable causes. But they have a LOT of money.
 
And of course, when you have a LOT of money you tend to have family drama. There are lawsuits, family dramas, a father cutting Frederick out of his will (quite possibly because it is implied Frederick is gay, although he apparently denies this), etc. The brother sue each other, Bill brings a whistleblower suit to the company, etc.
 
All throughout this time we see how and why some of the Koch brothers are drawn to the big business, libertarian thinking. I found it rather ironic that they seemed to quite meddlesome in business (forcing other shareholders out), nonprofits (requiring that they have the ability to approve hires), politics, etc. I guess it's not okay for government to intervene, but it's just fine if someone with lots of money does.
 
And while they author can't get into their heads, it's clear that these guys have never known hardship, do not understand that Big Business cannot solve everything, and throwing money like it's toilet paper does not always get you what you want, especially if you don't understand the other person/people on the other side(s).
 
I had my own biases going into this book (and I thought the author would really bring in his too), but I really do think that the author did make an attempt to provide context rather than leaving the reader to wonder For example, Schulman outlines how Charles's son Chase was given community service and probation after running a red light and killing a young man crossing the street. The author points out the family did not run away, went to the boy's funeral and that according to the special prosecutor in the case, this sentence was harsh and that an adult would have gotten a lighter one. I have my own thoughts about that entire situation, but I'm glad the author chose to add those details for the reader.
 
And while it's a great family history (it's where it's the strongest), I felt the author could get bogged down with the lawsuits, business deals and backroom dramas. Some of it was downright harrowing reading (he describes two young people who burn to death because of a faulty pipeline that one of Koch companies couldn't bother to maintain properly), but some of it made my eyes glaze over. He also doesn't delve as deeply into the politics and elections parts of what the Kochs do (such as essentially funding the Tea Party's rise) and the roles they played in the 2012 election. This is what I wanted to read but was disappointed.
 
Overall it was a good read. It helped fill in some of my knowledge gaps and provide a better context to frame what I did know. If anyone has concerns about money in politics (left or right) they really should read this. It's quite disturbing how the "haves" feel they can do what they like because they have the money to back it up. Us "have nots" don't have that same power. ( )
1 vote HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
The book does a fine job of recounting the lives and fortunes of the Koch family. But I came away feeling repulsed by the family itself and what they've done over the years. I should note that this was not a byproduct of any political disagreement with the well-explained and extensive political activities and financial support provided by some of the Koch family. Instead, I was pretty shocked at the amount of in-fighting, waste of time, energy, and money by the Koch brothers as they conduct legal battles against each other. Along the way, they basically destroy their own family. With all that the family had been given--a fortune beyond comprehension to most people, clearly superior intellectual capabilities, and rich opportunity afforded by living in the United States during their time--so much of their lives seems wasted for no good reason. Overall, definitely a downer, but my rating tries not to fault the author for recording a pathetic story. ( )
  Joe24 | Jul 22, 2016 |
Schulman's book is a very readable introduction to understanding the highly influential Koch family. Although the Koch family probably found the book offensive, I actually found it sympathetic to the family.

The most useful aspect of the book is its clear explanation of the philosophy of Charles Koch and where he agrees and disagrees with the Tea Party and Republican Party. The book is highly recommended ( )
  M_Clark | Feb 28, 2016 |
The author of SONS OF WICHITA did a hatchet job on the Kochs. It is a biased poorly written biography by a very liberal journalist who writes for the very liberal newspaper MOTHER JONES. The writing isn't all that great and the book is exceptionally biased against the Kochs. I wouldn't bother to read it unless you would enjoy the hatchet job. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Oct 18, 2014 |
The book takes a perspective on these ultra-rich brothers from a political perspective from the left of where they reside yet it does manage to reveal interesting aspects of their lives and motivations. There is no question the rich are quite different in many ways and these brothers are certainly no exception.

Along with the larger then life wealth they managed to acquire with birth and to expand greatly upon we get a heavy dose of the squabbles that surfaced between them and the political motivations. Large sums of money equated to political muscle and power are devoted to libertarian cause and in a sense social engineering. Though we see some impact from these efforts we also see that even the deepest pockets are not always enough, other than buying politicians along the way. The Koch brothers themselves will soon enough fade away but their money and political legacy will live on to some extent as part of the political process that is fueled by it. ( )
  knightlight777 | Oct 15, 2014 |
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"Like the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of the modern age, but they have never been the subject of a major biography... until now. Not long after the death of his father, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter the family patriarch had written to his sons. 'You will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money,' Fred Koch cautioned. 'It may either be a blessing or a curse.' Fred's legacy would become a blessing and a curse to his four sons--Frederick, Charles, and fraternal twins David and Bill--who in the ensuing decades fought bitterly over their birthright, the oil and cattle-ranching empire their father left behind in 1967. Against a backdrop of scorched-earth legal skirmishes, Charles and David built Koch Industries into one of the largest private corporations in the world--bigger than Boeing and Disney--and they rose to become two of the wealthiest men on the planet. Influenced by the sentiments of their father, who was present at the birth of the John Birch Society, Charles and David have spent decades trying to remake the American political landscape and mainline their libertarian views into the national bloodstream. They now control a machine that is a center of gravity within the Republican Party. To their supporters, they are liberating America from the scourge of Big Government. To their detractors, they are political 'contract killers,' as David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's chief strategist, put it during the 2012 campaign. Bill, meanwhile, built a multi-billion dollar energy empire all his own, and earned notoriety as an America's Cup-winning yachtsman, a flamboyant playboy, and as a litigious collector of fine wine and Western memorabilia. Frederick lived an intensely private life as an arts patron, refurbishing a series of historic homes and estates. SONS OF WICHITA traces the complicated lives and legacies of these four tycoons, as well as their business, social, and political ambitions. No matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of our era, but so little is publicly known about this family, their origins, how they make their money, and how they live their lives. Based on hundreds of interviews with friends, relatives, business associates, and many others, SONS OF WICHITA is the first major biography about this wealthy and powerful family--warts and all"--

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