Daniel Schulman - Sons of Wichita - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Hardback
    More information
    • ISBN:9781455518739
    • Publication date:03 Jul 2014

Sons of Wichita

How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty

By Daniel Schulman

  • Paperback
  • £13.99

Like The Rockefellers and The Ford Family, The Koch Brothers are one of America's wealthiest and politically-active families yet they have never been the subject of a major biography. Influenced by their father's radical libertarianism, Charles and David have built the family's oil and cattle empire into the second largest private corporation in America and their secretive backing of conservative causes, right-wing media and global-warming-denying science has prompted liberals to dub them 'The Kochtopus."

Not long after the death of his father, whose heart gave out suddenly in November 1967, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter his father had written when his four sons were small. "My dear boys," it began when you are 21, you will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money. It may either be a blessing or a curse." "Above all," he cautioned, "be kind and generous to one another."
In the ensuing decades, Fred's legacy became a blessing and a curse.

Two of his sons, Charles and David, joined forces to build Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the world. But they ended up in an epic feud with brothers Bill and Frederick that spanned nearly two decades, tearing the family apart-and nearly Koch Industries along with it. Bill would start his own energy company and attain a modicum of fame as a litigious wine-collector and yachtsman (he likened winning The America's Cup in 1992 to the ecstasy of "10,000 orgasms.") After being marginalized by the patriarch because of his effete manner, Frederick became a patron of the arts and a fastidious refurbisher of historic estates.

Starting with their boyhood when fraternal disputes were sometimes settled in the boxing ring, SONS OF WICHITA takes you inside this highly private family and traces the evolution of these four distinct personalities as well as their corporate, philosophical, social and political ambitions (many forget David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party's vp candidate in 1980). Influenced by the conservative, anti-communist sentiments of their father, a founding member of the John Birch Society, Charles and David devised an ambitious strategy to foist their ideological agenda upon the nation-quietly channeling millions of dollars of their fortune into a web of freemarket think tanks, academic programs, advocacy groups, and more, while also building what amounts to a shadow Republican Party, replete with a donor network capable of raising as much in an election cycle as the Republican National Committee. Never before did they flex their political muscles as vigorously as they did during the 2012 campaign, when Charles and David clashed with the Obama administration in what Charles described as the "mother of all wars."

Like The Rockefellers before them, The Koch (pronounced like the soft-drink "Coke") Brothers are a great American dynasty. Unlike The Rockefellers, they have never been the subject of a major biography before.

Biographical Notes

Daniel Schulman is a senior editor in the Washington bureau Mother Jones, and a founding member of the magazine's investigative journalism team.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781455518722
  • Publication date: 28 May 2015
  • Page count: 432
  • Imprint: Grand Central Publishing

A. A. Gill

AA Gill is the acerbic TV and travel critic of the Sunday Times.

Andrew Crofts

Andrew Crofts, one of the world's most successful freelancers, has been writing for over 30 years. He works as a travel writer, journalist, and as a ghostwriter has written four Sunday Times number one bestsellers, several international hits and a number of books appearing on the Richard and Judy Show.

Anne Robinson

Famous newspaper columnist. The first woman to regularly edit a national neA famous newspaper columnist, and the first woman to regularly edit a national newspaper. 'Watchdog' more than doubled its audience after Anne Robinson joined it, getting sit-com ratings. 'The Weakest Link' attracted the largest number of daytime viewers in the history of television.

Barnaby Rogerson

Barnaby Rogerson is the author of the four much-admired editions of Cadogan's guidebook on Morocco, and with his wife Rose Baring the two on Tunisia.

Brian Moynahan

Brian Moynahan worked as a journalist for the YORKSHIRE POST and THE TIMES and currently works for several British and American newspapers. He is the author of THE BRITISH CENTURY, THE RUSSIAN CENTURY, and A BIOGRAPHY OF RASPUTIN.

Charlie Mortimer

Charlie Mortimer was born in 1952 and educated at Wellesley House, Broadstairs and (reluctantly) Eton. He has been, among other things, an officer in the Coldstream Guards, a vintage car restorer, an estate agent, a roughneck on an oil rig, a pop group manager, a mechanic in Africa, a manufacturer of boxer shorts and an antiques dealer. He currently describes himself as a 'middle aged, middle class spiv (mostly retired)'.

David Browne

David Browne is the former music critic for Entertainment Weekly, where he worked for over 15 years. A former reporter and columnist for the New York Daily News, he has also contributed to The New York Times, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, MOJO, Spin and other publications.

Elaine Dundy

Elaine Dundy was born in New York. As an actress she worked in Paris and London and then became a writer. She has written plays, biographies and novels including the bestselling THE DUD AVOCADO, her first novel.

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander composed and recited "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry--including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--and is the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She is the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies at Yale University.

Eric Hobsbawm

Eric Hobsbawm was a Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Before retirement he taught at Birkbeck College, University of London, and after retirement at the New School for Social Research in New York. Previous books include AGE OF EXTREMES, THE AGE OF REVOLUTION and THE AGE OF EMPIRE. He died 1st October 2012

Frank Brady

FRANK BRADY is the author of numerous biographies, including Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy, one of the bestselling chess books of all time. He is chairman of the Department of Mass Communication, Journalism, Television and Film at St. John's University, is the president of the Marshall Chess Club, and served as secretary of the United States Chess Federation from 2003 to 2005. He lives in New York.

Frank Fraser

Frank Fraser was one of the most feared London gangsters of the 50s and 60s and spent many years in prison. He now lives in South London and runs tourist bus tours round the East End of London.

James Morton

James Morton is the author of the hugely successful Gangland series. He has long experience as a solicitor specialising in criminal work and was editor-in-chief of NEW LAW JOURNAL for many years.

Jane Lapotaire

Jane Lapotaire has been a leading member of the National Theatre and the RSC for more than thirty years. She holds a visiting fellowship at Sussex University and teaches at the Actors' Centre and the British American Drama Academy. She lives in Warwickshire and south London.

Jonathan Fenby

Jonathan Fenby was the editor of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Before Before that he was deputy editor of the GUARDIAN and editor of the OBSERVER. He has covered France as a journalist since 1965 and was made a Chevalier of the French Order of Merit in 1990.

Katharine Whitehorn

Katharine Whitehorn grew up in Mill Hill and studied at Cambridge. She has had distinguished career on Fleet Street; working for the Observer from 1960 to 1996 with stints at Picture Post and the Spectator among others. She is currently Saga magazine's resident agony aunt.

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas is one of the all-time Hollywood greats, a fact confirmed by his 1996 Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. He is also a highly successful and critically acclaimed writer.

Laura Jackson

Laura Jackson is a highly regarded biographer. She has published biographies of many rock and film stars including: Steven Tyler, Queen, Kiefer Sutherland, Brian May and Jon Bon Jovi. Laura lives in Scotland.

Lyndall Gordon

Lyndall Gordon is the prizewinning author of biographies including CHARLOTTE BRONTE, VIRGINIA WOOLF, SHARED LIVES and MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT. Born and raised in South Africa, Lyndall is a fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford.

Marcus Berkmann

Marcus Berkmann has spent more than thirty years sitting in front of various television screens swearing at incompetent England batsmen. In his leisure time he has written columns on sport for Punch, the Independent on Sunday and the Daily Express. He is a regular contributor to Private Eye and has been the Spectator's pop music critic for over twenty years. His books include Rain Men: The Madness of Cricket, Zimmer Men: The Trials and Tribulations of the Ageing Cricketer, Fatherhood: The Truth and A Matter of Facts: The Insider's Guide to Quizzing