By the time Haroldson Lafayette Hunt died at 85 in 1974, he had not only amassed a considerable fortune in Texas oil but...

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THE THREE FAMILIES OF H.L. HUNT

By the time Haroldson Lafayette Hunt died at 85 in 1974, he had not only amassed a considerable fortune in Texas oil but also acquired a wealth of kinfolk. All told, H.L. fathered 15 children (13 of whom survive) by three different women who were the objects of his polygamous affections. With the cooperation of many family members, Burst (The Management Game, 1987) offers a breezy, kith-and-tell rundown on the Hunt clan from its post-Civil War genesis in southern illinois through the present day. The larger-than-life patriarch is by far the most compelling character in the generation-spanning narrative. But the author provides informed and informative accounts of offspring who have tried either to measure up to a legendary father's accomplishments or to come to terms with his captain's-paradise existence. Among other vivid vignettes, she supplies a savvy recap of Nelson Bunker's misadventures in the commodities trade and woes with federal authorities on a wiretapping rap, plus a box score for the financial defeats suffered by Lamar in professional sports. Covered as well are the successes of their self-effacing half-brother Ray, who has made a fine job of running the family business during a difficult period for the energy industry and become active in civic affairs throughout the Lone Star State. Nor does Burst stint the distaff side. She recounts, for instance, how Caroline (dubbed Bunker Hunt's ""Savvy Sister"" by Fortune magazine) made a name and a lot of money in Dallas property development. While several daughters have quietly embraced domesticity, the author chronicles the activities of others who have backed progressive causes that would have been anathema to their ultraconservative sire. Without belaboring the point, she also explores the effect of Hunt's legacy on his descendants. Burst concludes that most tend to operate in the grand style of their progenitor, albeit in most cases without his intuitive grasp of risk and reward. No startling revelations or interpretation, then, but a neatly packaged wrap-up that could appeal to a broad readership. The fast-paced, anecdotal text includes eight pages of black-and-white photographs (not seen).

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988