Feel free to skip the first chapter which is more rambling than anything else. You will get angry and feel helpless that there isn't much you can do to change the system, but this book will certainly change your perspective on how some companies make a profit and how we're pawns in their game. Dec 17, Lizpeveto rated it liked it. Just one of another string of non-fiction about the oil and gas industry. This book is difficult to follow as the chapters don't flow in date order.
They jump around from past to present and randomly. You will have to read between the lines to put together a summary of his findings. I'm very familiar with the oil industry and can attest to the truth of some of his information ev Just one of another string of non-fiction about the oil and gas industry. I'm very familiar with the oil industry and can attest to the truth of some of his information even tho he would not consider me a worthwhile "source".
The most true statement is that it is all about the money. Aug 09, Dryfly rated it really liked it. Vulture's Picnic is the type of book that you'd hope more people read. While I am dubious of some of Palast's claims, the journalism and tell it how it is approach is refreshing and needed. I have a lot of faith in what Palast says and writes, although I suspect he is prone to some exaggeration. For example, he will quote an "expert" but who is to say whether someone is an expert or not? Regardless, this book is important. Palast has some gonzo journalism in him, albeit this writing is somewhat Vulture's Picnic is the type of book that you'd hope more people read.
Palast has some gonzo journalism in him, albeit this writing is somewhat meandering disjointed at times. Still, Vultures' Picnic is interesting and thought provoking. Dec 07, Kate rated it really liked it Shelves: As ever, Palast is entertaining and terrifying while further revealing the man behind the good corporate citizen curtain.
As a former civil servant that promoted "free, but fair, trade" in the energy sector during the WTO riots in Seattle, I can tell you that it is every bit as corrupt and covered in blood as he claims. You keep stirring that pot, Greg. We 99'ers do give a shit. We are just trying to figure out how to handle it without going down in flames. Jun 23, Saadiq added it. Greg Palast and his team visit the corners of the world, where BP, Chevron and Shell have left their petroleum prints on the land and the people.
Palast shares with us his findings, his papers and his personality and basically tells you everything you thought you know about the Deepwater Horizon spill is wrong. Palast himself is an imposing figure, working tirelessly with his crew, and sifting through folders and binders of business jargon to see what few have ever seen. The unforgettable people he meets all share all fall into one dichotomy: Confidential or not, if it has anything to do with white-collar greed, bribery or corruption, the zealous BBC journalist has gotten his hands on it.
I only picked up this book for the cover, which looks near-amazing and commences the metaphor he uses to describe the baddies involved. There are times when nothing really important happens and the investigation thins. Finished 'Vultures Picnic' and it remained compulsive reading right through. I wasn't sure I was going to like the structure - which is episodic - hopping around in time and space.
However, that IS the nature of his journalistic life so I guess it allows some evaluation of his claims. Who needs fiction when the doings of the rich and powerful are so extraordinary. He is SO quotable: Any notion of the Finished 'Vultures Picnic' and it remained compulsive reading right through. Any notion of the Commons is out the window. The land, air or sea will be polluted at will by big business. Fines are no hindrance, just the cost of doing business. If regulation becomes onerous BUY the legislature and change the rules.
Clean water and air will eventually be SOLD to us. Essentially global corporations, often acting as cartels are dangerously procuring materials which they sell us for inflated amounts AND corrupting the body politic in the process.
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Yesterday coal, today oil and water, tomorrow our common genetic inheritance well Monsanto and co. BP's wickedness was eye-opening. It was immensely reassuring to know that the diesel back-up generators in Fukushima-type nuclear plants are NOT designed to work properly, if at all. The fire suppression systems don't seem effective either. Are their ANY regulatory bodies who are effective in their work? It seems likely that being psychopathic is a necessary quality for corporate and political leaders.
The activities of vulture funds deserve a much higher profile in the daily news round.
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I wonder why they don't? The degree to which african countries have been subjected to their depradations is quite extraordinary. The fraudulent deployment of capital eg. Human beings are deluded about many things, but money and power particularly. All in all I shall make a point of reading anything of Palast's that I can get my hands on.
To change the world you have to understand it properly and I was surprised by the degree of corruption evidenced in this volume. Apr 03, Byron rated it really liked it. If you've read the first couple of Palast books, this is mostly rehash, about his investigation of the Exxon Valdez spill in the late '80s-early '90s, the various scams run by the oil industry, how he became an investigator in the first place, his UK tabloid scandals and what have you.
The presentation is more polished than ever, in the style of a classic detective novel. There's an enhanced version with shlocky dramatic reenactments that you can just pull up on YouTube if, like me, you just cop If you've read the first couple of Palast books, this is mostly rehash, about his investigation of the Exxon Valdez spill in the late '80s-early '90s, the various scams run by the oil industry, how he became an investigator in the first place, his UK tabloid scandals and what have you.
There's an enhanced version with shlocky dramatic reenactments that you can just pull up on YouTube if, like me, you just copped the cheapest ebook version you can find. Tragically in more ways than one , the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico took place as he was working on this, so it's just kinda awkwardly wedged in here and not discussed in as much depth as it could have been.
There's also a lot of personal stuff, on the death of his father and his relationship with the girl he does these investigations with, which I thought provided a certain emotional resonance and didn't come off as overly indulgent or relevant. This book is going on four years old; when it came out, I was going through my own personal BP oil spill, which was just as tragic for me personally and from which I've yet to fully recover. It was probably best if you read it when it came out, and I don't think any of these books will age well, just in terms of the topicality of the subject matter, but this is probably the Palast book to read at this point with the ultra-dated The Best Democracy Money Can Buy being my all-time favorite , and I do really like his books.
Feb 12, Justin rated it liked it. By indicting every corporatist he comes across, Palast falls short of convincingly convicting any one of them. A lot of red herrings, false starts and dead-ends.
Not his fault of course, his courageous journalism and investigative approach means the playing field is steeply stacked against him. As a reader you come away feeling more defeated than ever. The bad guys truly have won, despite Palast saving Liberia. Wait, but wasn't this book supposed to be about the BP spill..? It's unfocused, manic By indicting every corporatist he comes across, Palast falls short of convincingly convicting any one of them. It's unfocused, manic, full of great insights, and as a narrative, ultimately quite disappointing.
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It's also written for Palast fans quite a few inside references to his life and work that could have only come from reading his past volumes--which I hadn't and error-strewn Steve Schwartzman runs Blackstone, not Blackrock. It's about pages too long and the inclusion of the Japan nuclear stuff at the tail-end of the book seemed to be a particularly unnecessary diversion which added little to whatever steam the main narratives had been building up. As a manifesto for the few hundred progressives left in America, it still might be worth a read. Does a lot of good work casting doubt on liberalism's sacred cows, like NPR National Petroleum Radio the NY Times and Obama, and does a particularly good job of showing how mega corporations literally own every part of the process: I'm happy Greg Palast is out there doing this kind of work, I just don't want to ever have to read one of his books again.
Aug 24, Levon rated it liked it. Drunk, face-down in the sand, Greg Palast almost has a gem with Vulture's Picnic. It reads like a scathing indictment of state-capitalism, of an incentuous relationship between global banking cartels, unregulated corporations, war-profiteers, and the governments that enable the unsustainable mess. In the end, Palast dismisses the reality that government regulation hasn't worked to keep these industries in check, has enabled it to predate the population, yet still promotes the flawed view Drunk, face-down in the sand, Greg Palast almost has a gem with Vulture's Picnic.
In the end, Palast dismisses the reality that government regulation hasn't worked to keep these industries in check, has enabled it to predate the population, yet still promotes the flawed view that government just isn't powerful enough to suppress all of the negative effects that he banks on for book sales. Yeah, he is a bit full of himself, even a bit chauvinistic at times, evident in the noir-style that sometimes oozes onto the pages, but that part actually makes for good storytelling. Given his obsessive ability to relate historical events and relate them effectively into a story, it is almost unbelievable that he dismisses instances of totalitarian governments in history that, by all accounts, should have been able to wipe out the problems that he believes just a little more government can fix.
If government is the problem, how can more government be the solution? Palast is an investigative reporter of some note. He has tackled subjects in the past that other journalists shy away from. In this book he looks at the power triangle of big oil, finance and politics. And he doesn't lile what he finds. In fact he finds it detestable and immoral the way that the individuals in power hold everyone else in. The primary focus of the book is BP, their safety record and the way that they have done bu Palast is an investigative reporter of some note.
The primary focus of the book is BP, their safety record and the way that they have done business for the past decades. Palast does not like what he finds. The amount of rules that they, and the other oil companies evade is astonishing, they have a complex about doing anything that might benefit anyone other than themselves. The other large oil companies have similar charges leveled. In the final few chapters he considers the role that the large banks have played in perpetuating similar frauds and the global financial scandal, and the fact that Brazil and Ecuador refused to follow suit and have done remarkably well despite the 'advice' of the world bank and the others.
I didn't always like the writing style, hence four stars, but otherwise this is a must read book. Dec 14, Eruch Adams rated it it was amazing. Half way through it and I can't believe how good it is. I don't always like political books, even though I do read a lot of articles. But nobody is doing investigative journalism like Palast and his team.
Vultures' Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores
I highly recommend this book if only to show the world how entrenched massively rich corporations are in all governments It reads like a detective novel, except that it's all relevant and current to my lifetime. Now done wit Half way through it and I can't believe how good it is. Now done with Vulture's Picnic. I think it's a must-read for anyone interested in current global events, and the rise of corporations who live by their own sets of rules in every country in the world. Anyone interested in journalism should read this book. Jun 28, Mike OHagerty rated it liked it.
I can imagine Greg Palast rummaging through piles of disorganized notes, recordings and pictures as he pieces together the morass that is corporate corruption in the fossil fuel and financial industries - with an ashtray full of half-smoked butts and a mostly empty bottle of Walker Blue although I'm not sure he's a smoker. I had to remind myself constantly that I was reading a supposed I can imagine Greg Palast rummaging through piles of disorganized notes, recordings and pictures as he pieces together the morass that is corporate corruption in the fossil fuel and financial industries - with an ashtray full of half-smoked butts and a mostly empty bottle of Walker Blue although I'm not sure he's a smoker.
I had to remind myself constantly that I was reading a supposed work of non-fiction. I'll take my Walker Black, thank you.
Book Review, Vultures’ Picnic by Greg Palast: Dutton Books, pgs. By Chrispepus | Razorcake
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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I'm well aware of the corruption that has pervaded American business and politics, but having it all grow to immense proportions page after page is rather devastating. The good news is that all of the disgusting facts are served with a generous portion of Palast's biting wit. Thank God for Greg Palast. If only he were a Federal prosecutor. Palast has done your work for you. Now we just need the indictments.
Palast is perhaps the best investigative journalists alive. Sadly, he is also one of a shrinking minority. It should be required reading for every citizen on the planet. I cannot recommend it highly enough. That goes for all of his work. UK urged to prevent vulture funds preying on world's poorest countries. Goldman Sachs and Occupy Wall Street's bank: Liberian leader urges MPs to back action against vulture funds. Staying half the course. Don't count on it. Death and tax cuts.
It's all about oil. As fragrant as Florida. Greg Palast argues that left-leaning voters have been scrubbed from electoral lists in Latin America. In Mexico City, ruling party operatives carried registration lists normally in the hands of election officials only, he says. Mexico and Florida have more in common than heat. There is evidence that left-leaning voters have been scrubbed from key electoral lists in Latin America.