Cover image for Cronies : oil, the Bushes, and the rise of Texas, America's superstate
Cronies : oil, the Bushes, and the rise of Texas, America's superstate
Bryce, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : PublicAffairs, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvii, 327 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F391.2 .B795 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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No other province holds more political and economic power than the Lone Star State. Two of the last three American presidents--and three of the last eight--have been Texans. Each of them got to the White House by exploiting a network of money and power that no other state can match.

In Cronies , renowned investigative reporter Robert Bryce illuminates how Texas turned its vast energy resources into political power, and how a small group of Texas corporations, lawyers and politicians use that power to protect and defend their own economic interests. Through an absorbing narrative that moves from the days of the oil boom, through the rise and reign of LBJ, to today, Bryce profiles the Texans and the Texas corporations who have wielded--and continue to wield--great power in America's domestic and foreign policy, including the Bushes, James A. Baker III, Halliburton, Baker Botts, Ray Hunt, Bell Helicopter, and more. He shows how massive transfers of wealth from the rest of the country to Texas have allowed the state to prosper. Cronies demonstrates how George W. Bush is the living embodiment of Texas' crony networks, and how those networks continue to play critical roles in the 21st century.

Distinguished by the same crack investigative skills and colorful storytelling that reviewers loved in Pipe Dreams , Cronies not only explains the astonishing rise of Texas; it offers a timely, provocative new way to look at American politics and our deadly entanglements in Iraq.

Author Notes

Robert Bryce was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a town briefly known as the Oil Capital of the World

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Journalist Bryce, whose previous book, Pipe Dreams, chronicled the rise and fall of Enron, now recounts how Texas rose over the past 60 years on a tide of oil to become the pre-eminent focus of American economic and political power. Bryce quickly sketches the emergence of the modern energy industry with the discovery of huge oil deposits in East Texas. He then turns to his central story, how Texas-based business empires like Exxon Mobil, Hunt Oil, Halliburton, and Baker Botts, the firm of James Baker III, have heavily promoted the careers of favored politicians going back to Lyndon Johnson. In return, Bryce shows, the oil industry and its tributaries have received lucrative government contracts, favorable tax treatment and kid-glove regulatory policies. Although Bryce devotes chapters to LBJ and his prot?g?, Democrat-turned-Republican John Connally, he reserves his special wrath for conservative Republicans like Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, James Baker and especially the Bushes. He contends that the market-shaping power of Texas oil inspired the creation of OPEC, and that generations of politicians, led by the Bushes, have tailored U.S. foreign policy to cater to Arab dictators and the Texas firms that serve them. There's little in Bryce's book that is freshly revelatory, and his prose is sometimes awkward, sometimes clich?d ("lap of luxury," "spending money like a drunken sailor," etc.). But in this election year, partisans looking for evidence of Republican corruption will find plenty of tidbits here. Agent, Dan Green at POM Inc. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Since the 1940s, Texas politicians from Lyndon Johnson through George W. Bush have dominated government largely because of their special relationship with the oil, gas, and construction industries, argues Bryce (Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron) in this sobering expos? of greed-driven politics in the Lone Star State. The significant players here-President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former President George H.W. Bush, and former Secretary of State James Baker-have profited from what the author calls "the-leave-no-billionaire-behind tax cut." Public-be-damned deregulation led to the 1980s and 1990s Savings and Loan debacle, in which half of the bailout money rescued Texas S&Ls. Bryce claims that George W. Bush was awarded the 2000 presidential election because wealthy Texans ran a costly recount campaign that Vice President Al Gore could not match. Further, he concludes that the 2003 Iraqi invasion was launched chiefly to protect oil interests and not because of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction and his unproven link to al-Qaeda. Bryce at times lapses into a dull recital of details, but this book is recommended for public libraries.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Author's Notep. xv
1 From Mina al-Bakr to Houstonp. 1
2 From Kilgore to Baghdadp. 24
3 The Supercapitalistsp. 37
4 Depleting the Federal Treasuryp. 45
5 1948: Lawyers, Airplanes, and Money-Part Ip. 51
6 Brown & Root Cleans Upp. 69
7 Bush and Baker Join Forcesp. 79
8 Bleeding Oilp. 90
9 Texas CREEPs for Nixonp. 96
10 Brown & Root Goes to Vietnamp. 105
11 All the Shah's Texansp. 111
12 Brown & Root and Saddamp. 124
13 "America's Superstate"p. 131
14 10000 Memorial and the "Texas Strategy"p. 137
15 "It's Not About Oil!"-Part Ip. 157
16 A Pit Bull on the Pant Leg of Cronyvillep. 168
17 Oil for W (and W for Oil)p. 181
18 Halliburton Hires a Cronyp. 186
19 Baker Cashes Inp. 196
20 2000: Lawyers, Airplanes, and Money-Part IIp. 206
21 The President from Baker Botts...and Halliburton, and Exxon Mobilp. 217
22 Dreaming Warp. 228
23 "It's Not About Oil!"-Part IIp. 236
24 Minister of Nondisclosurep. 244
25 A Black-Tie Affairp. 250
26 The United States of Texasp. 259
Notesp. 275
Bibliographyp. 291
Appendixp. 295
Indexp. 305