The Lives of the Rich and Powerful
by Darryl Cunningham
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 4 May 2021 | Archive Date 27 Apr 2021
Drawn & Quarterly, Drawn and Quarterly
An informative and funny deconstruction of how the giants of American capitalism shape our world
In Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful, Darryl Cunningham offers an illuminating analysis of the origins and ideological evolutions of four key players in the American private sector—Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and oil and gas tycoons Charles and David Koch. What emerges is a vital critique of American capitalism and the power these individuals have to assert a corrupting influence on policy-making, political campaigns, and society writ large.
Cunningham focuses on a central question: Can the world afford to have a tiny global elite squander resources and hold unprecedented political influence over the rest of us? The answer is detailed through hearty research, common sense reasoning, and astute comedic timing. Billionaires reveals how the fetishized free market operates in direct opposition with the health of our planet and needs of the most vulnerable -- how Murdoch’s media mergers facilitated his war-mongering, how Amazon’s litigiousness and predatory acquisitions made them “The Everything Store,” and how the Kochs’ father’s refineries literally fueled Nazi Germany.
In criticizing the uncontrolled reach of power by Rupert Murdoch (in fueling the far right), the Koch Brothers (in advocating for climate change denial), and Jeff Bezos (in creating unsafe working conditions), Cunningham speaks truth to power. Billionaires ends by suggesting alternatives for a safer and more just society.
"If you want to know why the world is such a mess, Darryl Cunningham provides a gripping and necessary briefing. His graphic novel Billionaires is some of the best comics journalism I’ve ever read. Cunningham manages to distill a tremendous amount of essential facts about some of the most dangerous and destructive people on earth, information made indelible by his low-key, acerbic cartooning. The drawings are remarkable, varied, and always on point."-Jeet Heer, National Affairs Correspondent at The Nation
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 5 members
"Billionaires" is a compelling look at the lives of Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers and Jeff Bezos. The mix of personal biography and business history was well-done and offered a clear picture of each man's life and how he amassed wealth and power. Illustrations and layout are clean and made each narrative easy to follow. This is a great work of comics nonfiction - dense but still highly readable.
Billionaires was both very readable and informative. I’m a little ashamed to say that I didn’t know much of anything about Rupert Murdoch or the Koch brothers, other than their respective fields of business, before reading this book—but now that’s not the case! Cunningham did a great job of presenting biographies of four men (Murdoch, the Koch brothers, and Jeff Bezos) and showing why the money, which translates to political power and cultural influence, that they have is not good for our country or the world. He focused on Conservative and Libertarian billionaires but makes a point of saying in the afterward that the same general principal, that billionaires have too much power, could still easily be made if a similar book were written about left leaning billionaires. Overall it was an eye opening and informative read. The graphic novel format made Billionaires easy to digest and far more entertaining than a traditional book on the same topic could possibly be.
This book was super interesting and the format made it easy to follow and held my interest. I’m of the belief that billionaires should not exist and this book really cemented that. The corruption is outrageous and it brought attention to the leg up all of the “self made” billionaires got: it was very informative and gave me some new facts that aren’t exactly well known. I’m not usually a big fan of nonfiction but I found this book to be fascinating.