Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vulture's Picnic” as Want to Read:
Vulture's Picnic
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Vulture's Picnic

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  393 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
The bestselling author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy offers a globetrotting, Sam Spade-style investigation that blows the lid off the oil industry, the banking industry, and the governmental agencies that aren't regulating either. This is the story of the corporate vultures that feed on the weak and ruin our planet in the process-a story that spans the globe and deca ...more
ebook, 305 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Constable & Robinson (first published October 18th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vulture's Picnic, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vulture's Picnic

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 393)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dave Lefevre
Oct 30, 2011 Dave Lefevre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
Most people in the U.S. still have this Pollyannaish belief that the CEOs at the top are just guys trying to make a buck like the guy that runs the corner supermarket. That's because the system of "journalism" in the United States is now a total failure. The biggest industry is now run by thugs who get as much money as they can by sticking their boot in the face of the decent people. The journalist has become just another corporate employee and won't report any of this.

Greg Palast, one of the la
Apr 15, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who still, despite everything, aren't angry enough
Recommended to Alan by: Clayton
I found it very, very hard to get through this book... not that Greg Palast's breezy style is hard to read, not at all, but I could only absorb so much bad news at one sitting. If vultures are what their own banks call repo men for entire nations (p.26) and the Raven is now a supertanker in Alaska (p.211), Palast must be a crow, alternately croaking about our doom and cawing about his discovery of it. Or maybe he's the canary in our coal mines—or, more to the point, oil wells—chirping madly in t ...more
Jan 21, 2013 Geoffrey rated it it was amazing
Almost as good as Taibbi at weaving vulgarity into rants of righteous indignation. He will make you want to occupy something.
May 08, 2012 Tuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
how big companies (especially big oil companies, 7 sisters, blah blah) are lying and destructing for the bottom line, being big fat paychecks for the boss. this book is not too enlightening, except for the details, which are very nice and grainy, on all the dirty deeds done to us of late if you have been paying the slightest bit of attention, but is a fun read n-t-l, and funny too. plus author has a cool hat.
Aug 20, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, but disjointed as hell and therefore confusing at times. But Palast is the real deal and it's good to get a little insight as to just who is screwing the economy, the environment and stealing humanity's future. A few gems:

"Louisiana shut down its hurricane center. After Katrina."
"Nothing has changed since Genesis 6. It is greed and arrogance and deception, not water, that drowns us."
"...the Valdez property was worth [in 1969], say, a couple of billion or so. How much would the oil g
Dec 29, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book from Greg Palast, containing his own investigative journalism. Detailed are the murkier activities of the major oil companies and their misfeasance and malfeasance related to a number of oil-industry accidents they were too cheap to even try to prevent (probably even figuring that it's cheaper to pay for claims afterwards then pay for safety beforehand), state and federal governmental ineptitude before and after hurricane Katrina, amoral international debt speculators buying t ...more
Vulture's Picnic is Greg Palast's existential confessions as much as it is a work of journalism. It reads like an academic at a symposium booked at the same time as Snookie, next auditorium over. He hears the muffled cheers coming through the walls, looks at his audience, a handful of die hard keeners, loosens his tie, discards his slide presentation, and says #$%@! it. Not only am I going to tell you what is happening in your world, I'm going to tell you what its like to be the guy who tells yo ...more
I am reading this in the Kindle version - which Palast has cleverly used to include mini videos (he is a TV guy with the BBC and Channel 4 so understands the power of image). I don't normally review a book until I have finished it but this is so extraordinarily fine and important, that I thought I would recommend it to any out there who believe that it is possible that those who suck oil out of the ground for a living, may indeed be a bunch of crooks.

Written in a way that makes it as exciting as
Wendy White
Feb 28, 2012 Wendy White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most satisfying way I can describe this book is: journalism without the additives.

While satisfying, it doesn't tell you that much. Here's a little more: Palast and his team investigate the fraud, corruption and corporate criminal activities going on that do far more harm than any bank robbery or kidnapping. These criminals bring entire nations to their knees, and they get away with not so much as a slap on the wrist. In fact, they usually walk away with at least several billion dollars profi
Nov 06, 2011 Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After nearly a decade spent building a public persona based around (apt) comparisons to Same Spade, BBC journalist Greg Palast has finally given us a book that provides a plot and supporting characters to match. In this hard-to-put-down work of pulp nonfiction, Palast's heroes are journalists, researchers, photographers and whistleblowers and his villains are the villains of tomorrow's headlines. As with Palast's previous work, where he was ahead of the pitch on Kenneth Lay and BP, the vulture's ...more
Steve Gillway
May 03, 2013 Steve Gillway rated it it was amazing
First of all you have to get used to his style of gonzo journalism. However, once he settles down I found this compulsive reading. He takes an important event in the news, for example the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska and after wondering why it has been reported in certain way and why the parties involved have acted in a particular way he gets gets down to serious investigating (with his team). What makes his investigations so interesting is their depth and his willingness to go through swathe ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult to gauge the accuracy of the facts presented, but boy is the author convincing...This book is downright scary.

The book is basically a long tirade of the evil deeds of mostly energy companies but also provides a nice summary of how the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (separation of commercial and investment banking) brought about the global economic crisis.

Palast's style is similar to a gumshoe detective in a noir novel, which I found irritating at first but got used to. Feel fre
Aug 09, 2012 Dryfly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vulture's Picnic is the type of book that you'd hope more people read. While I am dubious of some of Palast's claims, the journalism and tell it how it is approach is refreshing and needed. I have a lot of faith in what Palast says and writes, although I suspect he is prone to some exaggeration. For example, he will quote an "expert" but who is to say whether someone is an expert or not? Regardless, this book is important. Palast has some gonzo journalism in him, albeit this writing is somewhat ...more
Aug 25, 2013 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Investigative reporter Palast was actually an economist in the Chicago school, a fact I didn't know when reading his other books. His world view of 1% er's manipulation of raw resources over the world helps the reader get an understanding much like Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" of the greed game played by the extraordinary greedy who never have enough billions. Too much information on his personal life for me but worth reading if you have the stomach for manipulation that makes the Koch Brother ...more
From the author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Vultures’ Picnic utilizes the same undercover investigative storytelling to entrap the reader in the quest to unearth the secrets of Big Oil. Greg Palast and his team visit the corners of the world, where BP, Chevron and Shell have left their petroleum prints on the land and the people. Palast shares with us his findings, his papers and his personality and basically tells you everything you thought you know about the Deepwa ...more
Martin Read
May 18, 2013 Martin Read rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-affairs
Finished 'Vultures Picnic' and it remained compulsive reading right through. I wasn't sure I was going to like the structure - which is episodic - hopping around in time and space. However, that IS the nature of his journalistic life so I guess it allows some evaluation of his claims. Who needs fiction when the doings of the rich and powerful are so extraordinary.

He is SO quotable:
My favourite: "Louisiana shut down its hurricane center. After Katrina."

Things I have learned:
1. Any notion of the
Apr 29, 2015 Byron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've read the first couple of Palast books, this is mostly rehash, about his investigation of the Exxon Valdez spill in the late '80s-early '90s, the various scams run by the oil industry, how he became an investigator in the first place, his UK tabloid scandals and what have you. The presentation is more polished than ever, in the style of a classic detective novel. There's an enhanced version with shlocky dramatic reenactments that you can just pull up on YouTube if, like me, you just cop ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
By indicting every corporatist he comes across, Palast falls short of convincingly convicting any one of them. A lot of red herrings, false starts and dead-ends. Not his fault of course, his courageous journalism and investigative approach means the playing field is steeply stacked against him. As a reader you come away feeling more defeated than ever. The bad guys truly have won, despite Palast saving Liberia. Wait, but wasn't this book supposed to be about the BP spill..? It's unfocused, manic ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Nuzhat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a depressing book about the evils that corporations and 'other' people get away with because of the money involved and the power they have. Justice for the collective people is just not done. His jumpy writing style moving from different places and different times sometimes made it hard for me to follow without going back to review. I read it pretty quickly and I wouldn't recommend reading it over more than a 2 week time frame as the characters would get even more confusing especially w ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Levon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Drunk, face-down in the sand, Greg Palast almost has a gem with Vulture's Picnic. Almost.

It reads like a scathing indictment of state-capitalism, of an incentuous relationship between global banking cartels, unregulated corporations, war-profiteers, and the governments that enable the unsustainable mess. In the end, Palast dismisses the reality that government regulation hasn't worked to keep these industries in check, has enabled it to predate the population, yet still promotes the flawed view
May 31, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2013
Palast is an investigative reporter of some note. He has tackled subjects in the past that other journalists shy away from. If only a.third of this book is true, it is still a scandal.

In this book he looks at the power triangle of big oil, finance and politics. And he doesn't lile what he finds. In fact he finds it detestable and immoral the way that the individuals in power hold everyone else in.contempt.

The primary focus of the book is BP, their safety record and the way that they have done bu
Savinipop Savini
Jul 21, 2012 Savinipop Savini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this 3 1/2 stars if I could.
This book appeals to my conspiracy theory side. Greg is a writer/journalist for the BBC who likes to take shots at big corporations. The stories he shares in this book are fascinating, sometimes complicated and always riding that border of reality that makes it easy to deny they are true if you don't want to believe it. That is if you have the print copy.
I wish I had the digital download because there are links, even mentioned in the print version, to th
Eruch Adams
Feb 14, 2012 Eruch Adams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Half way through it and I can't believe how good it is. I don't always like political books, even though I do read a lot of articles. But nobody is doing investigative journalism like Palast and his team. I highly recommend this book if only to show the world how entrenched massively rich corporations are in all governments... except the governments that are suddenly removed.
It reads like a detective novel, except that it's all relevant and current to my lifetime. It's happening now.

Now done wit
Mike OHagerty
I can imagine Greg Palast rummaging through piles of disorganized notes, recordings and pictures as he pieces together the morass that is corporate corruption in the fossil fuel and financial industries - with an ashtray full of half-smoked butts and a mostly empty bottle of Walker Blue (although I'm not sure he's a smoker). ;-) His writing is a little difficult to follow as he tries to recount the unbelievable with flair and humor. I had to remind myself constantly that I was reading a supposed ...more
It is really difficult to describe what this book is about. Oil companies' lying, mostly, but some about vulture funds and nuclear power companies. It was a very slow read for me, because I spent most of it too pissed to read very much at one time.

I waffled on the rating of this. On the one hand, it's horrifying and electrifying information. On the other hand, he is both kinda creepy about women and seems to think he's in a noir film. Which is fine, except he's so very pleased with himself that
Oct 20, 2012 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cask-wine, dnf
See how it goes. At page 71 and having trouble telling how much is straight down the line and how much is crap. Would usually want a book that is meant to be an expose of something to be clearly and logically presenting information, evidence and conclusions but this looks unlikely. Without having any form of appendix to the book to check by cross referencing data it loses credability and becomes sort of black entertainment, which is I guess is what it is.
Got to about page 100 and gave up. Would
Just one of another string of non-fiction about the oil and gas industry. This book is difficult to follow as the chapters don't flow in date order. They jump around from past to present and randomly. The information appears to be well researched over a 30+ year history. I am not familiar w/ his other published books. You will have to read between the lines to put together a summary of his findings. I'm very familiar with the oil industry and can attest to the truth of some of his information ev ...more
Sep 05, 2012 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

This book has to many unknown sources, no endnotes, footnotes. I am not saying the things in his book did not happen. Just that no one can check it out except him. Also, His detective narrative gets annoying and he is not particularly funny which he tries to be. With a more scholarly approach this could be a great book, but it is too hard to take at face value. Although, it is no surprise to any reasonable human being that big oil is corrupt greedy and destructive to the environment.
Jan 09, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As ever, Palast is entertaining and terrifying while further revealing the man behind the good corporate citizen curtain. As a former civil servant that promoted "free, but fair, trade" in the energy sector during the WTO riots in Seattle, I can tell you that it is every bit as corrupt and covered in blood as he claims. You keep stirring that pot, Greg. We 99'ers do give a shit. We are just trying to figure out how to handle it without going down in flames.
Dec 02, 2012 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disjointed and hard to follow at times, at least partly because I'm not nearly as savvy about this topic as I should be. This is must-know stuff if you care about 1) the environment 2) the wealthy -vs- the poor and how they keep themselves -vs- how they are kept that way 3) how countries are set up to be bought and sold by big corporations 4) (space available).

Not sure what Palast book to read next--The Best Democracy Money Can Bu or Armed Madhouse, but either will be worth the read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order
  • The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times
  • Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up
  • With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
  • Private Island: How the UK Was Sold
  • The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age
  • Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism
  • Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life
  • The Extreme Centre: A Warning
  • Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country
  • Conservatives Without Conscience
  • Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America
  • The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South
  • Against Empire
  • The New Imperialism
  • Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
  • What Mad Pursuit
  • Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year on BBC Newsnight Review.

Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. government’s largest racketeering case in
More about Greg Palast...

Share This Book