On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller
Richard Norton Smith. On his own terms: a life of Nelson Rockefeller
The definitive life of one of the most complex and compelling figures of the twentieth century, this biography draws on thousands of newly available documents and interviews, including Rockefeller's own unpublished reminiscences. Grandson of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, Nelson coveted the White House from childhood. Before he was thirty he had helped his father develop Rockefeller Center and his mother establish the Museum of Modern Art. At 32 he was Franklin Roosevelt's wartime coordinator for Latin America. As New York's four-term governor he set national standards in education, the environment, and urban policy. The charismatic face of liberal Republicanism, Rockefeller championed civil rights and health insurance for all. Three times he sought the presidency--arguably in the wrong party. At the Republican National Convention in San Francisco in 1964, locked in an epic battle with Barry Goldwater, Rockefeller denounced extremist elements in the GOP, a moment that changed the party forever. But he could not wrest the nomination from the Arizona conservative, or from Richard Nixon four years later. In the end, he had to settle for two dispiriting years as vice president under Gerald Ford. Here, historian Richard Norton Smith re-creates Rockefeller's improbable rise to the governor's mansion, his politically disastrous divorce and remarriage, and his often surprising relationships with presidents and political leaders from FDR to Henry Kissinger. From the deadly 1971 prison uprising at Attica and unceasing battles with New York City mayor John Lindsay to his son's unsolved disappearance, the punitive drug laws that bear his name, and the much-gossiped-about circumstances of his death, Nelson Rockefeller's was a life of astonishing color, range, and relevance.--Random House reivew
Nelson Rockefeller, biography, philanthropy, governors
Smith, Richard Norton, "On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller" (2014). The Rockefellers. 17.