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About the book
  • Published: 2 August 2010
  • ISBN: 9781741667110
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $19.99
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The Big Fella

The Rise And Rise Of BHP Billiton




The never-before-told story of BHP Billiton's global conquests, told by the key players.

The never-before-told story of BHP Billiton's global conquests, told by the key players.

BHP is part of Australia's DNA; but it remains an enigma. The Big Fella: The rise and rise of BHP Billiton is the compelling story of how BHP and its partner Billiton rose from the humblest beginnings in the Australian Outback and on the Indonesian island of Belitung to starry heights on the great bourses of the world. Based on more than 60 exclusive interviews, it rips away the superficial gloss to expose the political and industrial forces that really drive Big Business in the 21st century.

In an investigative tour de force, authors Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin reveal the visions, the schemes, the scandals and the corporate life-and-death struggles that have characterised BHP's evolution from the first lucky strike by the mysterious Charles Rasp at Broken Hill in 1883 to its merger with Billiton in 2001 to its daring $150 billion bid for Rio Tinto six years later. The result is a gripping story of foresight and blunder, of nation-building and rampant ego, of greed and of grace, written by two master storytellers with, for the first time, access to the key players themselves. The Big Fella won the 2010 Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature.

  • Pub date: 2 August 2010
  • ISBN: 9781741667110
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Authors

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin wrote for the leading Australian newspapers and THE BULLETIN magazine. During 12 years at the CANBERRA TIMES from 1991 he was Arts Editor and then Associate Editor of the paper.

Peter Thompson

Born in Melbourne, Peter Thompson now lives in London, having enjoyed a successful career as a journalist in the UK. He has written biographies of Robert Maxwell and Jack Nicholson, among others. His most recent books are Pacific Fury, and, with Robert Macklin, The Big Fella:The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton, Anzac Fury and Shanghai Fury. He visits Australia regularly.


Praise for The Big Fella

“This is a thoroughly researched but easy-to-read book that benefits from dozens of original interviews with the significant personalities who were there at the time. Its glimpses inside the boardrooms and politics of Australia's biggest deals are hugely revealing.”

Australian Financial Review

“Exciting, complex and justifiably lengthy...This book will have broad appeal...“Never dull” becomes an understatement... The Big Fella is a giant MBA case study, a potential script for a thrilling movie and a terrific story of the exercise of global power. (Five stars)”

Australian Bookseller and Publisher

“The Big Fella excels in airing the dirty linen of BHP Billiton's boardroom and executive battles during tumultuous times, making an easy and enjoyable read about internal politics as opposed to the coalface operations of the biggest miner.”

The West Australian


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