Essential Books about the Koch Empire

Cover of Kochland by Christopher Leonard

Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America, Christopher Leonard (2019)

This new book, by noted investigative reporter Christopher Leonard, details how Charles Koch and the private corporation he controls dramatically expanded their wealth and changed American politics to protect and expand that  fortune over the past 50 years.   

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, Nancy MacLean (2018)

In Democracy in Chains, Professor Nancy MacLean details how Charles Koch has tried to limit democracy in the U.S. and abroad through funding universities, based on papers of the economist James Buchanan, who led a Koch-funded center at George Mason University.

The Givers: Money, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age, David Callahan (2018)

David Callahan describes how, with the widening wealth gap, philanthropy has become the vehicle through which billionaires wield increasing power. In this book, he discusses the way Charles Koch has weaponized philanthropy to accomplish his agenda to change American democracy. 

Oil's Deep State: How the Petroleum Industry Undermines Democracy and Stops Action on Global Warming - in Alberta, and in Ottawa, Kevin Taft (2017)

This book provides a more global look at the influence of big oil, including Charles Koch and Koch Industries. In his manuscript, Kevin Taft explores how oil interests have consolidated their power over government institutions in Canada.

Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP, Jeff Nesbit (2016)

In this revealing book, Jeff Nesbit details how oil and tobacco interests joined together to fuel the rise of the Tea Party in response to the election of President Barack Obama. This account includes new information about the role of Charles Koch and his operatives.

Cover of Dark Money by Jane Mayer

Dark Money, The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer (2015)

Dark Money is Jane Mayer’s landmark book about Charles Koch and his political empire. It details myriad dark money operations, like Americans for Prosperity, which Koch launched to influence American elections to advance his personal agenda. 

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty, Daniel Schulman (2014)

In a first for the Kochs, Daniel Schulman pens a biography of one of the richest families in America, detailing how Charles and David expanded their political influence and secured control of Koch Industries from their brothers.

Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 2.25.41 PM

Meet Charles Koch's Brain, Mark Ames, NSFWCorp / Pando (2013 e-book)

This 36 page e-book by Mark Ames details the influence of “Freedom School” founder Robert LeFevre on Charles Koch during Koch’s formative years.

The Machine Cover

The Machine, Lee Fang (2013)

As soon as President Obama was sworn in, right-wing groups joined forces to thwart his progressive mandate. In The Machine, Lee Fang provides an important guide to these groups including several funded by the Koch family fortune.

Merchants of Doubt cover

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (2011)

Merchants of Doubt reveals how the carbon industry is using the tobacco industry’s playbook that delayed regulation of smoking to sow doubts about the science documenting climate change.

Radicals for capitalism

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian, Brian Doherty (2007)

In this history of the Libertarian movement, Libertarian Brian Doherty describes who was there as the movement took root, describing how Charles Koch played such a key role in funding it that by the end of the 1970s he had been dubbed “the Kochtopus.”