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Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  9,466 ratings  ·  1,499 reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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 na
Kindle Edition, 405 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Crown
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Marc Lamphier Gas and oil are still more destructive than nuclear power. In addition to their contribution to climate change, which poses an existential threat to o…moreGas and oil are still more destructive than nuclear power. In addition to their contribution to climate change, which poses an existential threat to our world, and more direct environmental damage (e.g. Deepwater Horizon), this industry also props up repressive regimes all over the world from Russia to the Middle East to Venezuela. (less)

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Start your review of Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth
Will Byrnes
I like driving a pickup and heating my house as much as the next person, and the through line between energy and economic growth and development is as clear to me as an electric streetlight piercing the black night. But the political impact of the industry that brings us those things is also worth recognizing as a key ingredient in the global chaos and democratic downturn we’re now living through.
Rachel Maddow is the top news personality at MSNBC, host of The Rachel Maddow Show for the last
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you’re a regular viewer of her show (or, like me, a regular listener to her podcast) you’re aware that Rachel’s stories come with EXHAUSTIVE background, preambles, and prefatory material. But, if you’re a regular viewer of her show, you know the windup is worth it. This book takes a little while to get off the ground, but eventually it soars.
I’ve had this book on my TBR since the day it was announced and none of my excitement diminished when I was rejected for the ARC. It only meant I had to wait for the release day and I’m glad I did, because now I got the opportunity to both read the book and listen to the audiobook narrated by Rachel herself, which was an absolutely riveting experience.

If you have read any of my reviews before, particularly the non fiction ones, you know I’m fairly liberal, so it should not come as a surprise tha
Well, this has been quite a reading experience: a sequence of “aha” and “I remember that” moments followed by my absorbing the deeper meaning behind a news story or legislative moment that occurred sometime within the past several years. As a news junkie since childhood, I knew something about most of the subjects that Maddow covers in her over-arching view of the oil industry at work throughout the world. Even my most pessimistic self would not have imagined the inner workings of the U.S. compo ...more
I love Rachel Maddow and I think that she is brilliant. This non-fiction was my book group choice yesterday. It made for an interesting discussion. Most of the group are fans of the author...probably why this is my book group of choice.😊
I recently read Maddow’s first book entitled “Drift” about the military-industrial complex. I felt that reading that book first helped me understand her method of presenting complicated data.

The book is well-written and meticulously researched. I am impressed at how thorough Maddow is with her research and analysis. She apparently was attempting to understand why Russia meddled in our 2016 election and ended up completing an academic research and analysis of the oil and gas industry. Maddow also
You don't see the forest for the trees until the end of this book. In chapter after chapter, Rhodes Scholar and MSNBC political talk show host Rachel Maddow focuses the reader's attention on a wide range of loosely-related, but highly-detailed, stories told in long form journalism style. By the end, a broader pattern emerges and it becomes clearer that Blowout is about the three subjects listed in its subtitle:

1) The Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

Maddow makes the case that the globa
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Blowout by Rachel Maddow

Oil and its corruption have had a massive impact on our world to be sure. Maddow attempts to tell us this using many current examples and is mostly successful in her effort.

First the positive.

1. Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar, has a nose for what is important. I feel that all of the oil related threads covered in this book are of importance and, individually, are interesting.

2. Although she uses a few too many idioms at times, her sentence structure and thought processes are ea
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blowout! :Corrupted Democracy, Rouge State Russia, and The Richest, Most Destructuve Industry on Earth
by Rachel Maddow
due 10-1-2019

#netgalley. #Blowout

What the Frack is going on with the oil and gas industry? How did we, as a Democratic country, get to this point? Regardless of age, sex, race, religion, political beliefs, etc., how did we become dependent on a global industry built on corruption, greed and incompetence?
Rachel Maddow brings it all together and makes this complicated
John Hatley
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This amazing and brilliant book gets five stars from me. I'm not normally known for reading non-fiction--especially current events usually make me furious--but I can highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in returning a minimum of democracy to democratic governments and breaking the strangle-hold of big industry, not just the oil and gas industry, on governments east and west. Very well researched and, as one might expect from Rachel Maddow, she manages also to spice the book wi ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I thought I should read Blowout by Rachel Maddow. Should being the giveaway word to my motivation. Instead of a dose of medicine that's good for me but hard to swallow, it was a terrifying funhouse ride that totally engaged my attention! Maddow weaves together a narrative of how we 'got to here' that illumines the present.

Maddow lays out the oil industry's history from Standard Oil to fracking to Putin's dream of Russia becoming the world's fuel provider to trolls on Facebook disseminating disco
Mikey B.
This is a scathing work on the petroleum industry – oil and the newly expanding natural gas industries. It's all lucidly outlined – focusing on the state of Oklahoma for natural gas and the Russia/ExxonMobil/Roy Tillerson alliance.

Before I go on, let me say that like many others, I am a consumer of these products, being very happy to heat my home these January days with natural gas – and of course use high-grade oil on those air flights I take when traveling.

The author, Rachel Maddow, exposes ho
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a marvelous book about the oil and gas industries. It is mostly about companies in the United States, but there are significant diversions into a couple of other countries, including Russia. While I believe that Donald Trump is thoroughly corrupt, he really plays second fiddle to Vladimir Putin, who is brazenly corrupt an order of magnitude worse. That's really saying something!

It is well known that large oil and gas reserves help to keep some countries in the dark ages. Rich despotic le
Suanne Laqueur
One million stars. I listened to the audible version and it was like Rachel telling me secrets. Especially the sections about Harold Hamm's divorce case. Hamm's wife's name is Sue Ann. And so I got to hear Rachel say my name over and over and over and... Sorry, where was I?

Besides her bottomless well of knowledge, impeccable explanations, dry wit and incomparable expertise in weaving all the parts together, you get to hear Rachel curse (which I wish she would do on air, but I'm weird like that.)
Thorough, interesting and excellent. Rachel Maddow doesn't know how to be anything but excellent. rtc

4.5 Stars

Listened to the audio book. Rachel Maddow narrated her own book which in my view elevates it!
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
When I finished Blowout by Rachel Maddow, I had to wash all the residual oil slick off my skin. The book is just that immersive in the oil industry. Not to mention a different kind of Kremlin-based, Putin-esque oiliness. Wow, this book contains nothing less than a gusher of information.

Blowout is sub-titled Corrupt Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth. I started it hoping to better understand the messy state of 2019 politics. I got that, and then som
Jeanette (Again)
It's true confession time. The one and only reason I wanted to read this book was because I adore Rachel Maddow. She's smart and funny and a meticulous researcher and a superb writer. I tried and tried with this book, both in print and on audio, where I got to listen to Rachel's dulcet tones reading her own work. Sadly, no amount of Maddow love can overcome my non-existent interest in the oil industry. Sigh.
Elise Musicant
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was very interesting, but the problem I had through it all was that I couldn’t figure out what it was about. Was it about corruption in the oil industry? How Russia devolved into the country it is today? How oil affects politics? There were a lot of interesting threads in this book, and they all tied together, but it felt like the writer was trying to tell too many stories.

I could tell this book was well researched. It was dense, however, with very long paragraphs. I found I had to re

The dedication...

Blowout book tour dates and locations announced!: Rachel Maddow alerts viewers that book tour dates in connection with her forthcoming book, "Blowout," have officially been announced, with tickets available through links at

Coming October 2019: Blowout
Description: Big Oil and Gas Versus Democracy—Winner Take All: Rachel Maddow’s Blowout offers a dark, serpentine, riveting tour of the unimaginably lucrative and corrupt oil-and-gas industry. With her trademar
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are few people that can take a complicated subject, woven through with various *other* subjects seemingly at random, and make them ALL make sense. Rachel Maddow is one of those few. I bought this as soon as we got a copy in the store, and finished it last night. What I read made my head spin - not from confusion, but from frustration and anger at seeing just one more way that the oil and gas industry have ruined so much of the global world. Now, don't get me wrong - they have been necessar ...more
Susan Stuber
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No wonder this book almost killed you, Rachel. How you were able to do the research for this book, much less put it together with such brilliance in your regular causticly humorous style, and at the same time manage to carry on with your regular TV program, is beyond me.

But let this one citizen and faithful follower thank you. Who knows, as this present crisis careens towards a hairpin curve, if your book will make any difference in the end. Who will come unscathed out of the wreckage? For ther
Donald Powell
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive view of the oil and gas industry and its impositions on life in the modern world. Ms. Madow is very intelligent, studious and has a conversational voice which is easy and interesting to read, even with a lot of numbers and dates. She loves sarcasm and that, at times, provokes more bitterness but she uses it like an explanation point where there is an arguable basis for it. This is essential reading for anyone involved in or interested with modern life's dependence upon energy (al ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love Rachel Maddow, I wanted to give this book a try, however I found this book frankly a little boring, It just didn't keep my attention
OK -- yes, I am a Maddow fan. I love her snark, but am in awe of her research capabilities, and the ability to connect stories that seem to be unrelated into a whole. That's what I got here...and I read the audible, so she READ IT TO ME.

The GR preview calls the book 'switchbacks', and that's just what it is...she begins one story, seemingly leaves it to pick up another, related, story, and then, BAM! brings both threads together.

Oil and gas dominate my state of Oklahoma, so her chapters about
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The subtitle says a lot about the book: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth. The dedication reads "To the bots and trolls, all of you, with love."

The introduction begins with a tease. Some "head of state" is visiting New York in 2003, laying flowers at the the site of the Twin Towers. We find out after three pages that it is Vladimir Putin, one of the greatest bullshitters of my lifetime. And he had the whole city strung along. He was cel
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
"When government is no match for the power of the industry, it instead becomes an enabler, an apologist, and often a corrupt participant in the industry running roughshod."

That quote pretty much sums it up. Things in the oil and gas industry haven't changed much since John D. Rockefeller made his fortune with Standard Oil. The links back to this dynasty are scary. Rex Tillerson's tenure at ExxonMobil is frightening even more so that he was appointed Secretary of State for a minute under Trump. I
Donna Hines
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley
As with anything these days this novel is all about corporate and individual greed. The greed that warrants full power and full wealth under the disguise of saving others or helping the environment move towards the future goals.
From Oklahoma to NW Pennsylvania and beyond Rachel tackles the truth in a powerful and dynamic fashion that will leave no stone literally and figuratively not turned.
"Play on emotions; the bigger the lie, the better; lies should be reported many times."
These lies are what
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly researched book by one of the smartest and best journalist we have. Maddow’s signature ability to pull seemingly disparate facts together to form a cohesive and compelling whole is fully on display.

If you ever watch her, you know that she builds thread-by-thread until the final intersecting payoff. So it is here. The history of oil and fracking, the rise of Putin and his energy state, the invasion of Ukraine, the Exxon-Mobil investments, Tillerson . . . the 'corrupted democracy and
Kaethe Douglas
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I read some, and it was well-reasoned and well-presented and other good qualities in a nonfiction book about the interplay between corporations and politics.

But I could only have it for a shortish time, and really, I know enough about the topic to believe Maddow is an accurate reporter with insight, and I don't actually have to read the book.

So, not completed, but appreciated nonetheless. This winter (it's December 2019 as I write this) I just don't need the stress that politics gives me. So I r
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I love Maddow. I devoured her first book, but this one was not as cohesive. However, I know that what I love most about Maddow is listening to her delivery which is why I was able to breeze through the book once the audiobook was out. Listening to The author talk about Russia, Exxon, and homegrown millionaires in Oklahoma allowed me to focus on the stories she was telling in each chapter instead of expecting a specific thread (other than petroleum) that tied all the stories together.
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Rachel Maddow is host of the Emmy Award–winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, as well as the author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Maddow received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford University and earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist S ...more

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