This writing would make an excellent history book about one of the biggest families in Corporate America. This book details the building of the massive Rockefeller fortune through the exploits of the senior Rockefeller. His battles with rivals within the oil industry are also well documented. His son also has a prominent place in this book as well. His donations to charity and the development of several foundations are well covered. The third generation Rockefellers and their accomplishments are well described in this book. All in all this was an outstanding book about a prominent American family. Read it, you will not be dissapointed.
Uneven but revealing
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
The Collier-Horowitz team have done at least three of these dynasty biographies, this one being their first. The biggest problem they have had in their project of writing on the Rockefellers, Fords and Kennedys is that they are often dependent on a few sources, especially when researching contemporary family goings-on. Maybe because it was their first stab at the dynasty biography, the problem is most acute with the Rockefellers. The founder of the dynasty, John D. Senior, is given less space than John D. Junior, almost as if Collier-Horowitz is saying "Senior has been done by others; let's nail down the more obscure Junior." And they do fill in the details of Junior's life rather well. The professional lives of the third generation, the five brothers, are rather well done but the personal lives are almost ignored. This is a failing because the reader can not understand why the fourth generation of Rockefellers have, for the most part, happily rejected their family unless you know why the five brothers were such abject failures as fathers. The fourth generation comes off, with only a couple of exceptions, as spoiled, childish brats filled with loathing of all things Rockefeller. David Rockefeller's children especially seem to despise their father, family and country. Abbie Rockefeller is particularly odious. Laura Rockefeller explains her own generation succinctly when she says, "the cousins are used to spending and donating money but not producing." The moral decay and personal supineness of the vast majority of the fourth generation is striking. It is also interesting is that the first Rockefellers were very religious people while the younger Rockefellers have turned their backs on religion. The Rockefeller trusts may keep the Rockefeller family going financially for several generations to come but as an important, vibrant family, the Rockefellers are a family in collapse.
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