Blowout Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLER • Big Oil and Gas Versus Democracy—Winner Take All

“A rollickingly well-written book, filled with fascinating, exciting, and alarming stories about the impact of the oil and gas industry on the world today.”—The New York Times Book Review

In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia—including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove—was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, revolutionaries in Ukraine raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.

With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Vladimir Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”

Blowout is a call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”

Book Reviews


Blowout5 star

I learned so much. I always learn a lot when Rachel has something important to share. Thank you. I never really thought that one industry like oil & gas could corrupt entire government systems until now & it’s absolutely terrifying. Johnye Gober55

Charlotte Boerboel

Excellent5 star

I thought this was a very interesting look at the incredible corruption of the current administration and its relationship to the oil/gas industry. Very timely and well written and narrated.55

Globalstandard Space

I’m finished.3 star

Uuumm, it’s.... maybe good. I guess, everybody like oil and gas. ....Right?35


Great book!5 star

Maddow is one of the leading journalist in the world and this book shows it. I hope is not the last. Just a suggestion from a Colombian: she should write about the most powerful illegal industry in the world and its effects on democracy: drugs. I watch TRMS every night. She’s the best. Thanks Rachel.55


Greatest read so far this year.5 star

A must read for anyone who wants to know what is “really “ going on.55


Eye-opening5 star

Really great if you want to understand what is going on with our current political state and the oil and gas industry influence55


Eye opening!5 star

Maddow breaks down an overwhelming topic in a way that is fun to read, equally enraging, and horny for justice & democracy.55

Jon S Redding

Extraordinarily Thorough5 star

Wide-ranging, darkly witty, and brilliantly reported, this deep dive indictment of the corrupt and corrupting influence of Big Oil is one of the most important books you could read this decade. If you have questions about Russia aggression on the world stage and weird American defensiveness around it, you’ll have a lightbulb moment reading this.55


Who knew?5 star

It is commonly said that wars are about oil once we got into the Middle East conflicts. With this excellent sourced book you get to view the actual detailed history and current content on the “How? and “Why?”. Maddow never gets attacked by the Right wing nuts especially not by Fox News. Why? Because she does her homework. Reading this masterpiece of well organized “facts” will go down in history as one of the best narratives of why we are dead as a country if we don’t do OUR homework. Mark that a big giant FAIL before it’s too late.55


Enjoyed and Appreciated5 star

This book was written in the best way possible. The formatting and chronological order was perfect, kept me gasping the entire time. Great job, RM.55

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