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Download Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty Audiobook

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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel Schulman Narrator: Allen O’Reilly Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2014 ISBN: 9781478953388
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Like the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of the modern age, but they have never been the subject of a major biography... until now.

Not long after the death of his father, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter the family patriarch had written to his sons. "You will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money," Fred Koch cautioned. "It may either be a blessing or a curse."

Fred's legacy would become a blessing and a curse to his four sons-Frederick, Charles, and fraternal twins David and Bill-who in the ensuing decades fought bitterly over their birthright, the oil and cattle-ranching empire their father left behind in 1967. Against a backdrop of scorched-earth legal skirmishes, Charles and David built Koch Industries into one of the largest private corporations in the world-bigger than Boeing and Disney-and they rose to become two of the wealthiest men on the planet.

Influenced by the sentiments of their father, who was present at the birth of the John Birch Society, Charles and David have spent decades trying to remake the American political landscape and mainline their libertarian views into the national bloodstream. They now control a machine that is a center of gravity within the Republican Party. To their supporters, they are liberating America from the scourge of Big Government. To their detractors, they are political "contract killers," as David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's chief strategist, put it during the 2012 campaign.

Bill, meanwhile, built a multi-billion dollar energy empire all his own, and earned notoriety as an America's Cup-winning yachtsman, a flamboyant playboy, and as a litigious collector of fine wine and Western memorabilia. Frederick lived an intensely private life as an arts patron, refurbishing a series of historic homes and estates.

SONS OF WICHITA traces the complicated lives and legacies of these four tycoons, as well as their business, social, and political ambitions. No matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of our era, but so little is publicly known about this family, their origins, how they make their money, and how they live their lives. Based on hundreds of interviews with friends, relatives, business associates, and many others, SONS OF WICHITA is the first major biography about this wealthy and powerful family-warts and all. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A book that is closer to a family saga than a political exposé…Schulman has ably assembled everything known about the Kochs into a single, straightforward, understandable account…Sons of Wichita may strike some readers as surprisingly pro-Koch although Schulman leaves out no confirmable damning detail, especially about Koch Industries’ deadly indifference to environmental and safety matters… Sons of Wichita reminds us that political outcomes depend far more on ideas and organizations, and the energy and persistence devoted to them, than they do on the balance of power between good guys and bad guys.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Sons of Wichita feels as close to the truth as anyone is likely to get for a long time to come.”

    Financial Times

  • “Riveting…fair-minded and inquisitive. Schulman offers carefully observed details that help flesh out our image of the men whose money has so dramatically remade our politics, revealing much about their motives as well as the demons that haunt them.”

    Washington Post

  • “Mother Jones senior editor Schulman’s group portrait of the amazingly wealthy, strong-minded Koch brothers is a critical, but surprisingly nuanced tale of money and influence…This is a complex story of epic sibling rivalry, with important political dimensions.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Forget Dallas or Dynasty, this family saga of wealth and reprisals far exceeds anything you might see on TV. All My Children might have been a good alternative title for the book, though, because the fraternal infighting began with a hard-driving father who didn’t mind pitting son against son…While there is plenty about the Koch brothers’ business dealings and, of course, their political philosophies, this is, at heart, a tale about sibling rivalry writ large…Schulman is a senior editor at Mother Jones, but there’s no leftist edge here. His copious research results in a bias-free book that illuminates two of the most influential figures on the American landscape while telling a remarkable, if cautionary, tale about money, power, and the bonds of brotherhood.”


  • Mother Jones senior editor Schulman delivers provocative reportage on the Koch alpha-family legacy…Free from conjecture or personal criticism, Schulman’s astute account is buttressed by concrete research, legal documents, and verbatim interviews with family members and friends. A straightforward, evenhanded, and often riveting assessment.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, May 2014
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Author

Daniel Schulman is a senior editor in the Washington bureau Mother Jones, and a founding member of the magazine’s investigative journalism team. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe MagazineColumbia Journalism Review, Psychology Today, Village Voice, and many other publications. He splits his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Washington, DC.

About the Narrator

Allen O’Reilly is an actor, educational director, and teacher at Georgia Shakespeare. His film credits include Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, Crimes and Mister Meanors, and The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle. He majored in Theater at Northern Arizona University and received his professional theater training at Actor’s Lab Arizona and The Alliance Theatre Intern Program.