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Memoirs Paperback – Oct 28 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Oct. 28 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969733
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

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
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was disappointed with David Rockefeller's Memoirs. While his observations on his early life were insightful, he failed to deal realistically with his career at Chase Manhattan.
Throughout the book, he touts his personal connections with world leaders as the reason Chase Manhattan became a leading international bank. Yet he all but ignores that this debt was a major cause of the bank's downfall. If he takes credit for the connections, he should assume responsibility when the debt defaults.
On the other hand, I found his observations about his brother, Nelson, unique and insightful. He sees the greatness tempered by the flaws.
In my mind the highlights of David Rockefeller's career start when he retired from Chase Manhattan and dedicated himself to the family office. The story of the sale and subsequent repurchase of Rockefeller Center represents the pinnacle of a financial career.
This is a well-written book. For someone, like me with an interest in finance and public service, it is a great read. David Rockefeller would rate five stars if only he had dealt more candidly with his failures at Chase Manhattan.
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Format: Hardcover
David Rockefeller's 500-page 'Memoirs' presents a lucid, highly readable account of a prominent career at the intersection of high finance, philanthropy and public affairs. Critics may rightly charge that Rockefeller manages to eschew personal second-guessing, but this does not come at the expense of profundity. The author provides a thoughtful, stimulating look back at his childhood, education and career, as well as interesting anecdotes of his interactions with heads of state, titans of industry, and many other prominent denizens of 20th Century public life.
Rockefeller's life's work argues strongly that capitalism is a central civilizing force in society, and he takes this view in the book. His 'Memoirs' hold appeal not primarily because of his name, but because of his remarkable accomplishments and contacts, as well as his extensive description of a rather prescient internationalist approach, which he embodied as CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, and which prefigured the rise of globalization. This latter point gives the book a surprising present-day relevance, both as a personal account of 20th Century corporate history as well as an argument in favor of global economic cooperation. Readers are also able to ponder Rockefeller's response to critics who denounced his involvement in international affairs, especially those involving the Middle East, as inherently biased.
As the youngest son of John D. Rockefeller Jr.
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Format: Paperback
My mind keeps returning to the Memoir by David Rockefeller the same way it does to politics, in appreciating the enormous power wielding by him, by that family, and by the numbers of persons like them do have more than an ordinary interest in the wealth, prosperity and success of America. For his own part, the Memoir is an opportunity to understand how it came to be so, and the highs and lows that come with making such extraordinary wealth. It is also an opportunity to discover the man or men behind the myths, and to learn that they are, at best, much like ordinary persons, despite their wealth, with a well developed and keen sense of how that wealth may be used to better mankind, or to ultimately destroy it. For David, I was particularly interested in his relationship with Peggy, and would love to learn more about that since it appears as though they had an especially loving and compatible relationship through which they both appeared to have been inspired, and enjoyed sharing the joys of life that people can when they do have such relationships. The sadness of a soldier of life having to tread on without his mate is often one that is far undervalued, and at least for women, produce the desire to know about the woman she was far better than could be explained in a memoir about her husband.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I came away from reading David Rockefeller's "Memoirs" with a reflection and a question. The reflection is this: I can't think of another individual who has had the extraordinary good fortune to interact with so many leaders around the globe, both in the political world as well as the business world for an entire lifetime, as David Rockefeller has done. His life, in that regard, would be hard to reproduce today. My question is, simply, why did Rockefeller write this book? After all, as he states, he is the first and only Rockefeller to tell the "Rockefeller story".
As the author says, he was largely ignored by his older siblings growing up and more or less went it alone. He did carve out a highly successful career as one of the leading bankers in the world, whose advice was sought after by prominent people from all walks of life. To this end, one must give David Rockefeller his due, not ignoring his place of noble birth. It must be hard to start at the top and work across. Regarding philanthropy, he correctly points out that those who wish to take issue with his enormous wealth disregard the good that his giving has done over the years. And yes, we hear about it all. David Rockefeller may be the quiet one, but his ego matches his siblings'.
Much of his memoirs is told from a banking perspective and there are endless pages of statistical molasses. As a book, it often grinds to a halt. Is there a board on which Rockefeller hasn't served? It doesn't appear so. When the author speaks of his interests outside of the business world, i.e. art, New York, his family, etc. he does so in a way that is almost too carefully crafted and therefore, dispassionate. One gets the feeling of a man somewhat detached, perhaps reflecting that isolated childhood to which he refers.
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