Catalogue


Memoirs /
David Rockefeller.
imprint
New York : Random House, c2002.
description
517 p. : ill.
ISBN
0679405887
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Random House, c2002.
isbn
0679405887
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
4740851
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
CHAPTER 1 Grandfather There is a picture of all the men in the family waiting at the Tarrytown station for the train carrying Grandfather's casket from his winter home in Ormond Beach, Florida. He died quietly in his bed on May 23, 1937, at the age of ninety-seven. While the official cause of death was sclerotic myocarditis, it would be simpler to say he died of old age. I had known him as "Grandfather," not the "robber baron" or great philanthropist of the history books. He had been a constant presence in my childhood: benign, indulgent, revered by my father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and by the family as a whole. Looking at that picture today, I find it remarkable how well it captured our relationships with one another, where we were in life, and, perhaps, where we would all be going. John, characteristically, stands on the periphery. Thirty-one years old, he is the oldest son, inheritor of the dynastic name. After he graduated from Princeton, Father put him on the boards of many family institutions, among them the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and Colonial Williamsburg, grooming him to be the family leader, but he is shy and uncertain of his abilities. Nelson, also characteristically, has managed to situate himself at the exact center of the picture and stares authoritatively at the camera. At twenty-nine he will soon become president of Rockefeller Center. Laurance, twenty-seven, the philosopher and businessman, gazes into the middle distance. He was emerging as a leading investor in the aviation industry and, with Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I Flying Ace, would soon buy a large stake in Eastern Airlines. Winthrop is the handsomest. Somehow Mother's Aldrich features-which one might describe as having a lot of "character"-combined with the Rockefeller genes to produce almost movie-star good looks. Win is the most troubled of us and never quite fitted in. Now twenty-five, he is working as a "roughneck" in the Texas oil fields. I am the youngest, twenty-one years old, and look very wet behind the ears. I have just completed my first year of graduate work in economics at Harvard and will leave that summer to continue my studies at the London School of Economics. Father, beginning to show his sixty-three years, presides over us all, completely forthright, a friendly, kind face. Perhaps a little distant. We brought Grandfather back to the mansion that he and Father had built twenty-five years earlier on the family estate at Pocantico Hills. Called Kykuit, the Dutch word for "lookout," its hilltop site commands a magnificent view of the Hudson River. The next day, with only immediate family and a few close friends present, we held a service for him. I remember it was a beautiful spring day, the French doors open to the terrace, and the Hudson River a glistening blue below us. His favorite organist, Dr. Archer Gibson, played the large pipe organ in the main hall, on which we used to pretend to perform when we were children. Harry Emerson Fosdick, senior minister of Riverside Church, which was built by Father, gave the eulogy. After the service, as everyone milled about, Mr. Yordi, Grandfather's valet, gestured to me. Yordi, a dapper Swiss fellow, had been Grandfather's valet and constant companion for thirty years. I knew him well, but he had always been reserved in my presence. I went over to him, and he pulled me aside, into a deserted hallway. "You know, Mr. David," he began (from as early as I can remember, the staff always addressed us in that way, "Mr. Rockefeller" being too confusing with so many of us with that name, and first names would have been too familiar), "of all you brothers, your grandfather always thought you were the most like him." I must have looked very surprised. It was the last thing I expec
First Chapter
CHAPTER 1 Grandfather There is a picture of all the men in the family waiting at the Tarrytown station for the train carrying Grandfather's casket from his winter home in Ormond Beach, Florida. He died quietly in his bed on May 23, 1937, at the age of ninety-seven. While the official cause of death was sclerotic myocarditis, it would be simpler to say he died of old age. I had known him as "Grandfather," not the "robber baron" or great philanthropist of the history books. He had been a constant presence in my childhood: benign, indulgent, revered by my father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and by the family as a whole. Looking at that picture today, I find it remarkable how well it captured our relationships with one another, where we were in life, and, perhaps, where we would all be going. John, characteristically, stands on the periphery. Thirty-one years old, he is the oldest son, inheritor of the dynastic name. After he graduated from Princeton, Father put him on the boards of many family institutions, among them the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and Colonial Williamsburg, grooming him to be the family leader, but he is shy and uncertain of his abilities. Nelson, also characteristically, has managed to situate himself at the exact center of the picture and stares authoritatively at the camera. At twenty-nine he will soon become president of Rockefeller Center. Laurance, twenty-seven, the philosopher and businessman, gazes into the middle distance. He was emerging as a leading investor in the aviation industry and, with Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I Flying Ace, would soon buy a large stake in Eastern Airlines. Winthrop is the handsomest. Somehow Mother's Aldrich features-which one might describe as having a lot of "character"-combined with the Rockefeller genes to produce almost movie-star good looks. Win is the most troubled of us and never quite fitted in. Now twenty-five, he is working as a "roughneck" in the Texas oil fields. I am the youngest, twenty-one years old, and look very wet behind the ears. I have just completed my first year of graduate work in economics at Harvard and will leave that summer to continue my studies at the London School of Economics. Father, beginning to show his sixty-three years, presides over us all, completely forthright, a friendly, kind face. Perhaps a little distant. We brought Grandfather back to the mansion that he and Father had built twenty-five years earlier on the family estate at Pocantico Hills. Called Kykuit, the Dutch word for "lookout," its hilltop site commands a magnificent view of the Hudson River. The next day, with only immediate family and a few close friends present, we held a service for him. I remember it was a beautiful spring day, the French doors open to the terrace, and the Hudson River a glistening blue below us. His favorite organist, Dr. Archer Gibson, played the large pipe organ in the main hall, on which we used to pretend to perform when we were children. Harry Emerson Fosdick, senior minister of Riverside Church, which was built by Father, gave the eulogy. After the service, as everyone milled about, Mr. Yordi, Grandfather's valet, gestured to me. Yordi, a dapper Swiss fellow, had been Grandfather's valet and constant companion for thirty years. I knew him well, but he had always been reserved in my presence. I went over to him, and he pulled me aside, into a deserted hallway. "You know, Mr. David," he began (from as early as I can remember, the staff always addressed us in that way, "Mr. Rockefeller" being too confusing with so many of us with that name, and first names would have been too familiar), "of all you brothers, your grandfather always thought you were the most like him." I must have looked very surprised. It was the last thing I expec
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-10-01:
This autobiography by the youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller is also a history of 20th-century America and its influence in the world order. As David Rockefeller traces his own life (he was born in 1915) with references to the personal and business dealings of his father and grandfather, this history unfolds through his eyes. Chapters on his childhood, teenage years, and relationships with his parents provide insight into his character development and lifestyle. But when he discusses his years at Harvard, the London School of Economics, and the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics, Rockefeller tells of his meetings with top professors and economists such as Keynes and Schumpeter, commenting on their theories. The account of his travel experience in Nazi Germany during the mid-1930s is compelling. His marriage to Peggy, his time as an intelligence officer in World War II, and his relationships with his brothers in family conflicts, as well as his work with Chase Bank, Rockefeller Center, OPEC, and the Middle East, Latin America, and the World Trade Center, are all discussed in detail. Of particular interest is Rockefeller's epilog discussing 9/11. This very readable and thought-provoking account of an influential financier, philanthropist, and art lover will hold readers' interest. Given the broad sweep of Rockefeller's life, it may be quite popular and in demand in both public and academic libraries. Steven J. Mayover, formerly with the Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2002-08-26:
As a military intelligence officer in World War II, Rockefeller learned his effectiveness depended on his "ability to develop a network of people with reliable information and influence." During his long life-he turned 87 this year-he's amassed a Rolodex of more than 1,000 contacts, and in this satisfying autobiography, he describes firsthand encounters with Pablo Picasso, Sigmund Freud, Fiorello La Guardia, oil sheikhs, Latin American strongmen and others. Critics might say Rockefeller's not too choosy about the company he keeps; they claim he's "never met a dictator he didn't like." Indeed, he has been roundly criticized for the role he and Henry Kissinger played in persuading the Carter administration to allow the exiled shah of Iran into the U.S., an event widely believed to have sparked the hostage crisis. But this memoir is much more than a titillating account of wealth and international intrigue. Rockefeller also meticulously recounts the modernizing of Chase Bank, where he worked for 35 years, rising to become chairman and chief executive, finally giving the company-which merged with JP Morgan in 2001-a written history on a par with Ron Chernow's The House of Morgan. New York City also dominates here; after Robert Moses, the Rockefeller clan has had the strongest hand in shaping the modern urban landscape, from Wall Street to midtown to Morningside Heights. Indispensable for anyone interested in financial and American history, Rockefeller's well-organized remembrances present a deeply fascinating, thorough look into the life of a living legend. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (Oct.) Forecast: Like Katharine Graham's 1997 Personal History, this will appeal both to readers with a financial sensibility and those in search of a stimulating, meaningful American autobiography. An author tour and national TV appearances will kick off sales, and the book should do well as a gift come the holidays. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"It is a rare author who can write about himself with openness and candor, but David Rockefeller has succeeded brilliantly. His discussion of his upbringing and of the obligations imposed by great wealth is fascinating, as are his personal reflections on four generations of Rockefellers. What the book also reveals, unconsciously but with great clarity, is the decency, integrity, and humanity of David Rockefeller himself."Dr. Henry Kissinger "Long before globalization became a household word, David Rockefeller realized the importance of cultivating strong, trusting relationships with countries and their leaders around the world. We are privileged to be the beneficiaries of his lifelong commitment to world peace, and to have his reflections on these experiences in this superb memoir."Nelson Mandela "In these memoirs, David Rockefeller provides an account of his life that is candid, incisive, and moving. Whether writing about his remarkable family, his distinguished career, or his important role in world affairs, he offers a unique and invaluable perspective on our times." Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations "David Rockefeller is one of the most diversely interesting men of our time. It has been my pleasure to know him and his work, and this book, the product of his unique life, is both attractive and thoroughly engaging. It will attract everyone for the knowledge and pleasure it accords."Professor John Kenneth Galbraith
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, July 2002
Kirkus Reviews, August 2002
Publishers Weekly, August 2002
Booklist, October 2002
Library Journal, October 2002
New York Times Book Review, October 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., David Rockefeller was chairman & CEO of the Chase Bank, patron of the Rockefeller Center & was involved with many New York development projects, including the World Trade Center.
Main Description
David Rockefeller was born in 1915, the youngest child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., one of the richest men in the United States, and the great patron of modern art Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He graduated from Harvard College in the depths of the Depression, when the capitalist order, which his grandfather had helped to create, was under relentless attack. He studied at the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. He worked briefly for New York City's flamboyant mayor Fiorello La Guardia before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1942. His service as an intelligence officer in North Africa and France brought him into contact with many of the individuals who would soon dominate European politics and gave him a unique perspective on the events and personalities that eventuated in the "twilight struggle" of the Cold War. Rockefeller joined the Chase bank in 1946 as an assistant manager in the Foreign Department and rose through the ranks to become chairman of the board and chief executive officer. During that time, he struggled constantly to modernize and internationalize the bank's operations, often against a conservative and risk-averse corporate culture. During his eighty-seven years, David Rockefeller has: come to know world leaders ranging from Zhou Enlai to Mikhail Gorbachev, Anwar Sadat to Ariel Sharon, General Augusto Pinochet to Saddam Hussein worked with every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower, at times serving as an unofficial emissary on high-level missions traveled to more than one hundred countries, logging approximately five million miles while circling the globe dozens of times Throughout his life David Rockefeller has been passionately interested in the welfare of the world around him, particularly in the city of New York. His involvement with Rockefeller Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Rockefeller University, the redevelopment of the Wall Street area and the building of the World Trade Center, and many other projects is revealed in these memoirs. It's almost inconceivable that one man's life could encompass so many things. But David Rockefeller's life has, and he tells the world all about it in this candid and highly informative book. This is the first time a Rockefeller has ever told his own story. As a financier, a philanthropist, and the ultimate ambassador without portfolio, David Rockefeller, scion of one of history's most fabled families, has experienced a life that is unique in every aspect. This, in his own words, is the story of that remarkable life.
Table of Contents
Grandfather There is a picture of all the men in the family waiting at the Tarrytown station for the train carrying Grandfather's casket from his winter home in Ormond Beach, Florida. He died quietly in his bed on May 23, 1937, at the age of ninety-seven. While the official cause of death was sclerotic myocarditis, it would be simpler to say he died of old age. I had known him as "Grandfather," not the "robber baron" or great philanthropist of the history books. He had been a constant presence in my childhood: benign, indulgent, revered by my father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and by the family as a whole.
Looking at that picture today, I find it remarkable how well it captured our relationships with one another, where we were in life, and, perhaps, where we would all be going.
John, characteristically, stands on the periphery. Thirty-one years old, he is the oldest son, inheritor of the dynastic name. After he graduated from Princeton, Father put him on the boards of many family institutions, among them the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and Colonial Williamsburg, grooming him to be the family leader, but he is shy and uncertain of his abilities.
Nelson, also characteristically, has managed to situate himself at the exact center of the picture and stares authoritatively at the camera. At twenty-nine he will soon become president of Rockefeller Center.
Laurance, twenty-seven, the philosopher and businessman, gazes into the middle distance. He was emerging as a leading investor in the aviation industry and, with Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I Flying Ace, would soon buy a large stake in Eastern Airlines.
Winthrop is the handsomest. Somehow Mother's Aldrich features-which one might describe as having a lot of "character"-combined with the Rockefeller genes to produce almost movie-star good looks. Win is the most troubled of us and never quite fitted in. Now twenty-five, he is working as a "roughneck" in the Texas oil fields.
I am the youngest, twenty-one years old, and look very wet behind the ears. I have just completed my first year of graduate work in economics at Harvard and will leave that summer to continue my studies at the London School of Economics.
Father, beginning to show his sixty-three years, presides over us all, completely forthright, a friendly, kind face. Perhaps a little distant.
We brought Grandfather back to the mansion that he and Father had built twenty-five years earlier on the family estate at Pocantico Hills. Called Kykuit, the Dutch word for "lookout," its hilltop site commands a magnificent view of the Hudson River. The next day, with only immediate family and a few close friends present, we held a service for him. I remember it was a beautiful spring day, the French doors open to the terrace, and the Hudson River a glistening blue below us. His favorite organist, Dr. Archer Gibson, played the large pipe organ in the main hall, on which we used to pretend to perform when we were children. Harry Emerson Fosdick, senior minister of Riverside Church, which was built by Father, gave the eulogy.
After the service, as everyone milled about, Mr. Yordi, Grandfather's valet, gestured to me. Yordi, a dapper Swiss fellow, had been Grandfather's valet and constant companion for thirty years. I knew him well, but he had always been reserved in my presence. I went over to him, and he pulled me aside, into a deserted hallway. "You know, Mr. David," he began (from as early as I can remember, the staff always addressed us in that way, "Mr. Rockefeller" being too confusing with so many of us with that name, and first names would have been too familiar), "of all you brothers, your grandfather always thought you were the most like him." I must have looked very surprised. It was the last thing I expected him to say. "Yes," he said, "you were very much his favorite." I thanked him somewhat awkwardly, but he just waved his hand and said, "No, no, I just thought you should know." I didn't really know what to make of it. I thought it would have been Nelson, but I couldn't pretend I wasn't pleased.
From the Hardcover edition.
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