Cover Image: Blowout


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This was a really interesting look at the Russia situation, and all the various factors surrounding it. Maddow is an excellent reporter, and it shows in this book.
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"Blowout" is a historical account of the current state of Big Oil & Gas and their long-standing onslaught on democracy in Western civilization in the US and EU. She takes the reader from the early days of the discovery of black gold and Standard Oil's monopoly of the industry under the grip of John D. Rockefeller to the more recent days of the current industry as Vladimir Putin and Russia threatens Europe with the specter to turn off its supply of oil and gas. 

Maddow also dives into the ways that natural gas was heralded as the savior to America from its dirty coal addiction has led to a steady stream of earthquakes due to fracking at extreme distances deep in the earth in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio and many other states situated on largest deposits of natural gas trapped under difficult to penetrate shale layers in the earth's crust.

The ongoing theme in Maddow's book is the way that industrial capitalists continually exploit the earth's natural resources for profit and low prices with detrimental environmental impact, while continuously trying to downplay the effect of drilling or oil spills dumping hundreds of thousands of drums into the sea or man-made earthquakes or poisoning communities from fracking fluid, all collateral damage to Big Oil & Gas' bottom-line and drive to higher revenues and bigger profits to private companies and their powerful CEOs.

Not only are these companies destroying the planet and negatively impacting everything around it, but it consistently threatens to "turn off the faucet" of the oil and gas powering the world today. They use this threat to get local, state and federal governments to bend to their every whim. 

The most difficult part is that we have built our economy and infrastructure around our need for oil and gas giving the supplying companies all of the power and control. Until we ween ourselves off of fossil fuels and onto more renewable energy sources, we remain dependent on them. 

This book was an eye-opening look into current events and the geopolitical dynamics at play around the world due to the increasing demands for oil and gas.
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Right off the bat I will tell you that Ms. Maddow's writing style for Blowout is spot on similar to her broadcast style.  I didnt need the audio book because I could hear her voice narrating inside my head anyway.  Blowout is a deep dive into the effect of Big Oil on people, business governments and politics. I found it disturbing and eye opening. I think that Blowout is the perfect book discussion selection. 4.5
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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First, I want to thank Net Galley and Crown Publishing for an ARC of this book.

I loved Drift, and I also loved this book, Blowout.

Blowout is about greed in the gas and natural gas industry, and the deep connections of people at all levels of the American (and Russian) governments.

The structure of the book is typical Maddow with lots of deep dives and seemingly unconnected facts until it all comes together towards the end. I watch the Rachel Maddow show, so I understand her process, but I can imagine those who do not know how she works may get frustrated at the pacing. Still, nobody tells an in-depth story like she does.

I happily give this book 4.5 stars!
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Scary, but a must-read. It’s a little unsettling to read this while the impeachment trials are unfolding. 
If you are not already a viewer of Rachel Maddow’s show, the tone and style will take some getting used to.
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I love Maddow's writing style--I stepped into this one without knowing much about the subject, and she masterfully builds a narrative that brings along the reader (no matter what they're prior knowledge). 
Fascinating. Liked this slightly less than her previous book, but still found it terrific (and I'm gutted that we couldn't' get her at the book festival this year!).
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From first page to last, I sat in open-mouthed, gobsmacked, thunderstruck, shell-shocked, flabbergasted horror as Rachel Maddow taught me the history of the oil industry. Yes, I suspected calloused corruption, but the staggering depth left me aghast. Realizing that my gas dollars are funding invasions, prostitution, and hit men, I've been calculating how far it is to work and whether or not I can possibly walk it. I'm left wondering how the world can possibly survive politically, sociologically, and environmentally if this behemoth continues unchecked. I am stunned.
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I’ve had a bit of news overload the past month or so, with hearings, debates, and lots of anxiety about the future of our country. So while I happily received an advance copy of Rachel Maddow’s latest book Blowout (from Crown Publishing and NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review, I admit I had a bit of a challenge getting into it. I knew it would be awesome, I mean…it’s Rachel Freaking Maddow! (yes, I am a fan). But I just felt overwhelmed and ready to dive into some escapist fiction rather than something heavy.

But OMG, this is a great book. It’s full of Rachel’s trademark black humor, and provides a history of the oil and gas industry that effectively lays the groundwork for an analysis of how we got here, what is really going on both in the U.S. and throughout the world, and ideas for what we might do to address the challenge.

In the U.S., she starts with Rockefeller and the earliest days of the oil boom in the U.S. and takes us up to the beginning of the Trump administration. She shows us how the industry has affected democracies in both developed and developing countries, wreaked havoc on our oceans and rivers, and propped up dictators and thieves. But what I love about this book is that it didn’t just outrage me. She reminded me to being outraged would be “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”

It’s incredibly well written and although the Rachel’s personal opinions are clear, overall it is totally factual and unbiased in its recommendations.  Five stars.
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Disclaimer - I am actually a moderate Republican that grew up with a die hard Democratic dad and a moderate mother. I know I don't have to admit that, but I think it gives my opinion of this book a little more weight. My husband is also a moderate Republican. That said, he began watching Rachel Maddow in the evening while I was off reading after dinner. With all of the intrigue happening in Washington D.C. (and Russia and now the Ukraine), I began forming opinions and discovered that Rachel Maddow was expressing those opinions. Okay, I admit that her presentation of the facts are generally interesting but lack a complete picture at times, which is why I take the time to look at the subject matter more closely in order to have a better understanding. 

Opinions are one thing. Researching and reporting is quite another. Again, her slant is liberal and left wing which is why she wrote the book in the first place. On the other hand, it is fascinating and fact checked. If it is an opinion, the reader knows it is an opinion. But Rachel Maddow is a meticulous and highly intelligent woman. Her research into the issues leading up to the Mueller Report (which, incidentally, are still relevant today, Nov. 2019 and will be historically significant for our country and history books to come) are fascinating. They are complex and admittedly I did have to take to underlining to keep track of it all, but the threads are pulled together. Whether you agree with her or not, her research and reporting is worth reading. It would be fairly easy to skip her commentaries after she presents the facts if so inclined. I didn't. I enjoyed Rachel's voice in my head.

Again, I am a moderate Republican.
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Reading this book is much like watching Rachel Maddow approach a big story at the opening of her show. She starts out with a series of bizarre, seemingly unconnected stories in Oklahoma, Guinea, and Ukraine. By the end she pulls it all together to show just how corrupting, damaging, and powerful the oil and natural gas industry is. As someone who lived in Oklahoma for six years, I found a lot of personal interest in this book, but I worry that others might find it somewhat dry and confusing at first. I promise: if you hang in there, it's worth the big finish.
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Rachel Maddow's well-researched book offers an in-depth view of the corruption tying together Russia and the oil and gas industry. What makes Maddow's work so impressive is the way that she can weave an argument together from what seem like widely disparate threads. This is an important contribution to how we understand the ways that oil and gas have systematically corrupted the political system both at home and abroad.
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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. components of this business.

This is my first time reading a book by Rachel Maddow who I have enjoyed watching on television. She presents her information in a conversational tone. The facts are backed up with quotations, statistics, etc, which are more fully delineated in the Sources section provided at the end of the book.

And there are so many outrageous events detailed in Blowout. From very basic concepts such as why does an industry that has historically had some of, if not the highest profits in United States history still receive annual tax breaks they were initially given as incentives to explore? And what about the huge increase in earthquakes that seemed to in the area of fracking? And what about the relationship between Exxon and Russia/Putin? These are just three areas dealt with in depth.

There are also very strong links to Ukraine here, ones that I don’t recall hearing discussed on any talk shows yet. More reasons why Putin would want to destabilize that country.

All in all, I think this is is a must read for anyone confused, worried, otherwise wondering what is happening in this world around us where there seemed to be some rules in the past and now it’s a free-for-all. So, highly recommended. It is a very readable source on the oil industry, the new Russia, the state of our democracy, and our potential future.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Maddow's Blowout should be required reading. She deftly explains geopolitical connections between elections and the oil and gas industry. It's riveting.
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Rachel Maddow is an American treasure, and she proves this yet again again in the pages of Blowout. Her writing is as solid as her investigative journalism, which is really saying something. 

I went into this book already knowing a lot about the way the oil industry has tainted politics. But there was so much more unveiled by Maddow that I basically spent the entire book shaking my head at the awful greed of others. Fortunately, Maddow's trademark black humor kept Blowout from being overwhelmingly bleak. Our current situation, though, is beyond bleak and will get even worse if people don't start paying closer attention to the hard work of dedicated journalists such as Maddow. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for proving a copy. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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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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I wouldn't expect anything less from Rachel Maddow. This is well researched, while still keeping her conversational voice that we are used to on the show. Well-timed publication date, as well! :)
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I watch Rachel's show anytime I can. She has this way about her that when she explains something, she gives all of the information, and she delivers it a way that is easy to understand. I picked this book to read, not only because it is by her, but because I want to learn more about Russia, the 2016 election, and everything in between. 

A good chunk of this book is about the gas and oil industry, and how it rules over our politics. I knew some about this, but now I'm blown away by how much I did not know. The connection between this, Oklahoma earthquakes, Deep Water Horizon, and how they ruin 3rd world countries. It just blows my mind. 

I understood why people were upset over Rex Tillerson becoming SOS. After reading this I realize I had no real grasp on it and I'm just speechless. 

Rachel is a phenomenal reporter. She does her research, and she does it well. Whether your a fan of her show, or someone who does not, and no matter your political views, I really feel like everyone should read this book.
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Blowout is an absolutely chilling political commentary delineating the connections between the insanely profitable oil and gas industry, Russian government, big business, and the US government. Released 1st Oct 2019 by Crown, it's 370 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats.

Rachel Maddow is renowned for her biting commentary and no 'BS' political essays/podcasts/shows. More often than not, my political and philosophical feelings align with hers, so it's not really a surprise that in most ways, this book shocked, dismayed, and enraged, but didn't surprise me. Whether or not the reader agrees with her, the meticulous research and build-up of her exposition isn't really up for dispute. She knows what she's talking about and she builds up the connections step-by-step.  This attention to detail means that the first half of this book can feel slow...but by the time she ties the disparate threads together, the extrapolated conclusions are foregone.

This was a difficult read for me. It's very easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. The current news cycles spin at whiplash speed and I know more people who feel burnt out and disgusted (and apathetic) about the state of the political and commercial landscapes than who don't. The point that the author makes (and does so compellingly) is that more and more, the alliances which are the tectonic plates moving society and controlling life as we know it are not ones of political alliance or stateship, but commercial entities which owe allegiance only to the ridiculously wealthy men controlling them and making alliances across previously forbidden geopolitical lines.  She puts it succinctly enough, "Powerful enemies make for big, difficult fights".  I just hope we have enough energy and intelligence left to fight.

Five stars. Definitely a sure bet for people who enjoy intelligently written nonfiction.
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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 some. As Maddow has been saying on her show, the timing of this book’s publication is uncanny. There’s plenty about Ukraine and its fractured relationship with Putin in Blowout.

But its deep background starts with the origins of the oil industry and moves into detailed biographies of many industry power players. Maddow discusses Oklahoma, OKC, earthquakes, the 1995 bombing, and the titans who make or break its economy. If she does a deep dive here, she goes even further into the background of Russia’s oil industry and its oligarchs (AKA gangsters). Most importantly, she explains what it means to have only one viable global industry in a kleptocracy.

Since November 2016, reading about the politics of the current Russian state seems critically important. So far, this is the first book explaining the industry that strongly ties our two countries together, for better or worse. In one country, the government owns the oil and gas industry. And in the other, the oil and gas industry influences the government to its benefit. And if you don’t know which country is which now, Blowout makes it crystal clear.

My conclusions
Despite Maddow’s use of fact after researched fact, Blowout retains the tongue-in-cheek chattiness of her television show. Yes, definitely expect snarky asides or exclamations. The straight-up scholarly information is balanced by how she breaks down a complex situation into something easy to digest. That is, if you don’t mind your hydraulic fracking with a substantial side order of corruption.

Because of her unique writing style, I zipped through this nonfiction tome. Okay, having a nasty cold helped—I took a few days off and read a lot. But don’t be concerned it’s dry. It’s not. Maddow uses a narrative, almost novelistic, approach to this true-life story. It’s extremely readable. Or change it up, and switch to the excellent author-narrated audiobook. I did both, but ultimately found that highlighting passages was more important than hearing Maddow’s familiar vocal intonations.

Impressing all my friends and family with facts and history I learned in Blowout sounds fun. Right before I buy them their own copy for the holidays. It’s an important topic that is likely to be timely for some years to come. Please give it a go.

Thanks to NetGalley, Crown Publishing, and the author for the opportunity to read a digital ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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"Powerful enemies make for big, difficult fights. But you can't win if you don't play."

Despite the star rating, I feel like "big, difficult fight" sums up this book pretty well. This isn't necessarily a diss; the book is meaty and comprehensive, and Maddow does as good a job breaking everything down and explaining it as she does on her talk show.

But I sometimes feel like that the act of explaining these huge issues in such simple terms makes us feel like there are solutions that are also simple and yet completely out of our grasp to change. (Have you ever wanted to shake an entire state - I mean more than the fracking earthquakes already did - to try and knock some sense into it?)

This is a vitally important look at a corrupt and catastrophic industry, and Maddow enlivens the narrative with her sharp wit and, when called for, incisive anger. It is a lot, but "you can't win if you don't play."
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