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A blast from the past chock full of inter-generational family conflict, corporate intrigue, and titans of 1980’s Wall Street capped off by the largest jury award in American history, the Taking of Getty Oil is not to be missed. Despite knowing the outcome, I couldn’t put it down once I started.

Steve Coll’s meticulously researched book traces the events, personalities and conflicts that led to the sale of Getty Oil and the subsequent conflict between Pennzoil and Texaco over the deal. The tale pits Getty’s career-minded executives, led by Chairman and CEO Sid Peterson, against the musically gifted, accidental heir to the sole trusteeship of the Sara C. Getty Trust, Gordon Getty, who can be described as mercurial at best, and capricious at worst. In between are appearances by industry legends such as the Cullen family, and T. Boone Pickens, as well as West Texas favorite Hugh Liedtke and master trial lawyer Joe Jamail. This cast is supplemented by the able support of Wall Street legends such as Marty Lipton, the father of the corporate takeover, wunderkind Marty Siegel of Kidder, Peabody & Co., Geoff Boisi of Goldman, Sachs & Co., and numerous others, as well as bit parts by Houston blue blood law firms Baker Botts and Vinson & Elkins.

The Publisher’s Weekly Review can be found HERE.

The Kirkus Review can be found HERE.

For more on the Texaco-Pennzoil war, see Thomas Petzinger, Jr.’s Oil and Honor.

CategoryBook Review
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