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Blowout

Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
Written by: Rachel Maddow
Narrated by: Rachel Maddow
Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number-One New York Times Best Seller

Big Oil and Gas versus democracy - winner take all

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, Ukrainian revolutionaries 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 how and why the Russian government hacked the 2016 US election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing 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."

©2019 Rachel Maddow (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“[Maddow] may be a popular, progressive news-and-commentary anchor on MSNBC, but it's not to be forgotten that she holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford and seems to devour whole libraries of data before breakfast each day.... Expect a tweetstorm as Maddow’s indictment of a corrupt industry finds readers - and it deserves many.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

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As always...

Brilliant ! Her thoughts are concise and crystal. Her performance is perfection, no one could have delivered it as well. As with everything she does we learn, we understand, we appreciate...she is the consummate teacher...and as always...there is humour ! 🇨🇦

4 people found this helpful

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The Dots to Draining the Swamp

More dots connected to the King's men. I do believe she is right ...last deciding moment for Democracy and future jobs for the faithful could be sand bagging.

Well done compilation of past facts and events....a captivating read/audible.

3 people found this helpful

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Wow

I am in awe of Rachel and her tenacity. Big business runs rickshaw over the common man. If the common man on all sides of aisles and borders were in come together we could topple their stranglehold.

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Wow wow wow

I’m a huge Maddow fan. This is such a compelling story (and holy crap...it’s freaking true) I could not stop listening

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Best book in a long time

Rachel Maddow is one of the best storytellers! Her book is enlightening and very scary at the same time. I highly recommend this book!!

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  • RK
  • 2020-01-12

Fascinating Look Into How the World Works

RM’s book is well researched and reported. Her writing style is engaging, and her narration is excellent. This is one of those books that might be even better listened to rather than read; it’s great hearing it in her voice. It took me a few chapters to get into it, so if you find it slow at the beginning, keep going - it’s totally worth it.

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible Book

Incredible book. A must read for everyone who wants to know how the world works.

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excellent story

well researched and narrated, the music sucks, but that's just me, gonna download the next Maddow book for sure 😀

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most excellent as usyal

thanks for putting in laymen's term for most of us. love you....you are amazing

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A Must Read

This book is a telling, stringently researched dive into oil, gas and government. Excellently presented by the author, it is a compelling story of corruption and money, and the unholy marriage between them that has affected everyone on our world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aarmen
  • 2019-10-28

it's all about the oil

My first experience at listening to a book with audible. Rachel's new book was excellent and her reading it was an extra bonus. Blowout does a great job of of explaining how oil is the biggest influencer of our world. Not just economically but geopolitically also. The amoral way oil companies have influenced countries and contributed to the oppression of third world countries.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-10-12

chilling...

i lived sixty years of my life in Oklahoma. i have had family, friends and clients who have lived their entire lives in or on the fringes of the oil patch. i have witnessed and they have experienced the booms and busts of the oil patch. some of Madow's story i already knew, but i am shocked and stunned at how much was totally unknown to me. i have watched Madow enough to have great respect for her diligence, intellect and honesty, even when she occasionally comes close to going on a rant. i have learned that if i sit still and listen, i will almost always find her compelling and convincing. we are in really deep trouble here - way more than i had ever imagined

103 people found this helpful

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  • Pat Murray
  • 2019-10-10

Brilliant, Terrifying and yet you Must listen...

If you are already familiar with the work of the brilliant Rachel Maddow, this book is a, ‘no- brainer’ choice for you. It contains her unique gift of thorough, precise research wrapped in her fascinating craft of, ‘story telling’ which is all refreshingly presented in outstanding writing. The story, while always interesting is truly heartbreaking and terrifying, yet Rachel manages to keep you coming along because on the one hand it’s like a shocking (but real life) horror movie and on the other hand you’re desperate for some hope that we (democracy, the planet) stand any chance at all. The added bonus of Rachel narrating her own work allows us to hear every nuance, just as she intended as she wrote it, and the effect is captivating. She still manages to make us laugh through our tears and instruct without preaching. Every single high school, college, book club, legislator and adult human should read this book - and then - show the world, “this is what democracy looks like”. Rachel Maddow is a national treasure and we’d better get it together and start listening to her. She’s on to the truth of it here and she’s lighting the way (hopefully via sunlight) for any reasonable person to learn, understand and then act, if we are to save ourselves, and the future of the planet. Listen to this book and then buy one for everyone you know. As with any real life story, it’s far more interesting than fiction and further, assuming you don’t work in the industry, and perhaps even if you do, you’ll be stunned to realize how much you don’t know about what you don’t know. Don’t pass up the chance to listen to Rachel explain how everything that’s happening right now is all connected and after you run though a few stages of grief you’ll find yourself well rewarded for listening because you’ll be so much more well informed and you got there by being thoroughly engaged and fascinated throughout the entire journey.

100 people found this helpful

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  • joanne R. Hepworth
  • 2019-10-28

Best book ever on corruption at its oily core.

Rachael is a wonderful narrator of this important and believable expose of the rotten core beneath the oil and gas industry and all it supports. In many ways it explains so much so clearly, it is a true masterpiece.

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  • Debbie Jensen
  • 2019-10-09

I live in Oklahoma

Thank God for Rachel Maddow. I live in Oklahoma and I remember one winter Propane shot up to 4.00 a gallon. It took everything I had to just stay warm that winter. I now know why... God bless you Rachel and all that you are and do. You my dear are a national treasure. Thank you for writing this book.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Mia Culpepper
  • 2019-10-10

More than I ever wanted to know about oil and gas.

I never had an interest in knowing anything about the oil and gas companies and I was perfectly happy not thinking about Russia in my daily life. Unfortunately my life has been turned into an ugly reality show I never wanted or watched. Since RM can explain anything in such a way that I can understand, I thought it was time to to be schooled. I gritted my teeth and listened to her melodious voice weave me a despicable B grade horror story of corruption . Thank you Tillerson and Putin for your absolute greed so great that we could no longer look away. Thank You Rachel Maddow for telling a story that we all need to hear.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Monkeysuit
  • 2019-10-08

Must Read

I was born and raised in west Texas (direction not city) and I know the oil life. The impact the oil industry has on our communities appears is different conversation. This book gives insight on how it is all connected and how sad and destructive it is.

Oil and power makes me think of what my dad would say to me as a young kid, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”.

Thank you for doing your research and making sure it is accurate.

53 people found this helpful

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  • dweilert
  • 2019-10-06

This book is kickaxx

I live in a oil and gas state...in SW Kansas. Blowout is an excellent book, explains how we as a nation became so dependent on the industry and how internationally oil and gas has corrupted small and large countries. Analysis Russia's dependency on oil and gas production for their economy and why they have threated Ukraine...Western Europe and others. Blowout was such an eye opener on how oil and gas ties into so much of our world's interactions. Alternative methods need to be found to save our planet from distruction. Only negative is Schlumberger is not pronounced as Schlumberger...need to use the French pronounciation, such a little thing for such a great listen. Will be purchasing the hard copy next. Don't miss out on this great read.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Mike Scholten
  • 2019-10-17

Biased but much here needed to be said.

Overall an eye-opening account of how oil and government work together against the welfare of the rest of us. There is a lot of bias here, as the author seems not to appreciate the myriad judgment calls that businesses need to make without perfect information and how easy it is to deride and mock these decisions in retrospect. The recurring sarcasm only reinforces my thought that the author would have greater impact with more objectivity. The main thrust of the arguments strike me as correct though, and the industry is certainly more biased, less objective, and more self-serving than the author.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Matt20
  • 2019-10-10

Rachel Maddow is a national treasure

This book has it all and points us in the direction needed to save democracy and the planet.

29 people found this helpful