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  • Memoirs
  • Written by David Rockefeller
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  • Memoirs
  • Written by David Rockefeller
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Written by David RockefellerAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by David Rockefeller

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On Sale: April 27, 2011
Pages: 560 | ISBN: 978-0-307-78938-9
Published by : Random House Trade Paperbacks Random House Group
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Born into one of the wealthiest families in America—he was the youngest son of Standard Oil scion John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the celebrated patron of modern art Abby Aldrich Rockefeller—David Rockefeller has carried his birthright into a distinguished life of his own. His dealings with world leaders from Zhou Enlai and Mikhail Gorbachev to Anwar Sadat and Ariel Sharon, his service to every American president since Eisenhower, his remarkable world travels and personal dedication to his home city of New York—here, the first time a Rockefeller has told his own story, is an account of a truly rich life.

Excerpt

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 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.
David Rockefeller

About David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller - Memoirs
David Rockefeller was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Chase bank for many years. He has since retired and currently sits on many project and charity boards. He lives in New York City.


From the Hardcover edition.
Praise

Praise

“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

“Here is David Rockefeller at the top of his emotional register....As this calm yet revealing memoir indicates, there never will be another person like David Rockefeller.” —The New York Times Book Review

“[Rockefeller’s] book...is an account of a decent, hardworking man who ran his company, Chase bank, with an eye to the public good....If Rockefeller, by virtue of his name, is one of the poster boys of capitalism, he offers a pretty attractive face.”—Newsweek

“David Rockefeller is an emblematic figure of a world that no longer really exists...and there’s something refreshingly nineteenth-century about this entertaining memoir as well. Rockefeller’s style is restrained and self-deprecating.”—The New Yorker

“A compelling story of money, philanthropy, culture, and politics.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“David Rockefeller has had a life that is both long...and remarkable....In his sweeping, lively Memoirs, Rockefeller allows us a glimpse into his gilded world.” —The Washington Post Book World

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